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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Kutoka

Ups :Supercute, clever, great interactivity.
Downs: Waaaay too short.
System Reqs: Hybrid CD for PC or Mac.  PC w/ 8MB RAM, 2X CD; Mac OS 7.6, 8 MB RAM, 2X CD.

She’s cute—awfully cute.

The story—Mia’s grandmother has become ill. Luckily the player (Mia’s friend) is available to lead her in her adventure to find the ingredients for Grandma’s medicine. Of course, an evil rat robs Mia of her "sparklies" and now you must help her earn the currency needed to buy the ingredients. There are many discoveries and characters along the way as you and Mia explore this special Victorian house.

As you and Mia explore the house you come upon nine language arts activities where children can earn the much-needed sparklies. These activities are well designed to develop and practice skills that are important to beginning readers. Children work on phonetic awareness as they compose words with initial and ending consonants, acquire a sight vocabulary of words that can be recognized quickly, work to understand the meaning of words such as between, behind, above and also begin to compose their own sentences. Through these many activities children are playing with words and their parts and learning how language learning works. There are also many opportunities for problem solving, so be sure to pick up anything you find along the way…Mia might need it later to make a bridge, etc.

Easy starting tutorials help young children understand the 3D game format and cursor movement which are needed for Mia to find her way around the house.

Overall, this is a beautiful and engaging game for young children. The educational activities are excellent and level of play seems appropriate for the targeted age group. My only concern was the length of the game. My 6-year-old played through the entire game in 3-4 hours, somewhat short despite the affordable suggested retail price of $19.95. He was eager to play again at a more difficult level, but the story remains the same, so it didn’t hold his interest long. The only difference is the difficulty in the activities.

Children do have the option to play the activities only if they have already completed the quest. Simply go through the option screen and choose activities. All nine are available for children to play as often as they wish.

Soooooo….she’s cute…..really cute and very charming. Educational activities are excellent and the adventure format is engaging. Just be prepared for a short game.

Mia, The Search for Grandma’s Remedy is a fun and attractive learning adventure for children 5-9. Also from Kutoka is Cyber Grannies, an interactive world where preschool children can explore and play. The 26 quirky Grandmas—one for each letter of the alphabet—are incorporated into a whimsical vocabulary game that puts most of the emphasis on interactive exploration.

The host of Cyber Grannies is another cute character by the name of Atoz, a most helpful kangaroo. Each granny is found in a world with many choices and screens from which to choose. Atoz will appear near the completion of each lettered environment and offer to lead the player to the next letter.

Featuring over 450 words, the audio and animated responses are sure to please many children. While the primary emphasis is on letter and vocabulary building, there are also a nice variety of secondary skills included. These range from math and music to matching and problem solving.

While not as graphically complex as Mia, Cyber Grannies implements terrific use of audio within each grannies world. After clicking on an object and seeing the animated response and hearing associated sounds, the player can click on the "Letter of the Land" and receive an audio definition of the object. The non-linear approach used in Cyber Grannies is quite effective and may well offset the brevity of the game as a whole. While there aren’t any difficulty settings available, there remains a good deal of potential continued investigation within the varied avenues of access.

It’s great to see educational titles constructed with as much care as the folks at Kutoka are taking; while they might be a bit short on length, they’re plenty cute and nicely crafted.

--Anna Fehrenbacher & Al Wildey