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GameFam

July 09, 2005

REVIEW: I Spy Treasure Hunt

  • Platform: PC CD-ROM
  • Current Price (new): $7.99 (Marshalls)
  • Amount of Game Played: approx. 75%

Do you remember Highlights Magazine? You know, the one that all the doctors had in their waiting rooms when we were kids?

To be honest, the entire magazine is one big blur, save for one feature - Hidden Pictures. While waiting to be treated for my various & sundry character-building childhood bumps & bruises, I had a great time finding the objects & animals that were hidden within the larger drawing.

While Highlights seems to still be alive & kicking these days (who knew?), the king of the finding-hidden-objects hill has been I Spy for several years now. Most, if not all parents are familiar with the ubiquitous I Spy books, or the less ubiquitous TV show.

But didja know that there are I Spy games as well? We found out by downloading & playing the 60 minute demo of I Spy Spooky Mansion Deluxe at RealArcade. FYI, RealArcade is a great place to try new kids games (though there are games for us grownups as well), and if you can resist the temptation to buy after you try, it's a terrific way to play a bunch of new games for free. Great both for the budget, as well as your little short-attention-span theater-goers.

Just one day after finishing the Spooky Mansion demo in one sitting, we were shopping for something or other at Marshall's. While the kids were playing in the kids' books & toys area, I happened to notice an I Spy Treasure Hunt PC game on a nearby shelf. With so many free games for kids on websites, and places like RealArcade, we don't usually buy computer games for the kids at stores. But since the kids absolutely devoured the demo, and this one was only eight bucks, we bought it.




The gameplay is simple to grasp, easy to play, and reasonably challenging to finish. Solving each of 20 (I think) puzzles reveals another piece of the map, which gives clues to the location of the buried pirate's treasure.




On the downside, solving the puzzle doesn't take that long. However, you can play the game over several times. While the puzzles look the same, there are more than enough hidden items to go around, and players are asked to find a different subset of items each time.

There are also some audio issues. Actually, just one. For some reason, the last part of every sentence gets cut off. Sometimes a word, sometimes two, and sometimes a word fragment. However, what could have been really annoying has become a fun game for the kids. Since the clues rhyme, they try to figure out what the end of each sentence should be. They especially love filling in the missing word fragments.



The kids love I Spy Treasure Hunt, and will be asking to play the game when they wake up tomorrow morning.

Bottom Line: For $7.99, it's low risk, high-reward. The kids love the game because it's fun. My wife and I love it because the kids actually *gasp* LEARN while they play.

Favorite Parts of the Game:

    • "Finding all the cool hidden stuff!"
    • "Putting the maps together!"
    • "Getting the treasure at the end!"
That would be everything, I guess.



Anyhoo, while you consider whether or not to make the trek to your local Marshall's, check out these awards I found on the Scholastic website:
  • 2002 Parenting Magazine Software of the Year Award
  • 2001/2002 BESSIE (Best Educational Software) Award
  • The National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval 2001
  • Best Selling PC Games PlayDate 2001
  • 2001 Parents' Choice Software Recommended Award
  • 2001 Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award
  • Warren Buckleitner, Parade Magazine (November 25, 2001): "It's the best interactive I SPY product yet."
  • James Oppenheim, Child Magazine (December/January 2002): "This entertaining program gets children thinking visually."
  • 2001 Choosing Children's Software Best Pick Award
  • Parents Magazine (September 2001): Best Back-to-School Software
  • Jane Clifford, Copley News Service (December 11, 2001): "One of the most engaging series of programs ever for the young and young at heart..."
  • Robin Ray, Boston Herald (October 7, 2001): "Scholastic continues its wonderful series of riddle-puzzle games with I SPY Treasure Hunt..."
  • Children's Software Revue (November/December 2001): "The graphics are mesmerizing, drawing kids (and adults) into the game."
  • EdutainingKids.com (November 2001): "...it's fun and absorbing, and parents will agree that all the time their kids spend with the game will be time well spent."

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