Noddy's Big Adventure logo

Educational Software package for 3-7 year olds
Supplier: The Jumping Bean Company
Phone: 0602 792838
Price: £24.99

Noddy's Big Adventure is the sequel to Noddy's Playtime. It is an interactive educational and creativity package designed for three to seven -year olds.
A large range of subject areas are covered within the game, some covering early aspects of the National Curriculum, and incorporates different levels of difficulty so all levels of intelligence are catered for.

Every aspect of this package has been carefully designed with children in mind. The control s have been made as simple as possible, even the numbers on the disk have been enlarged to make disk accessing easy for young children.
However, with all the interlinking screens and levels it might prove to be a it taxing and frustrating for younger children to find the particular activity they want.

The graphics are bright and colourful and remain true to the original Noddy storybook illustrations. This, along with the realistic sound effects, is guaranteed to keep children amused.

Each of the different programmes have a fully interactive scene at the beginning and if a certain object is clicked on it will either animated or make a sound which is likely to appeal to a child.

The game is cleverly interlinked by a map which Noddy can drive round to each level and can be controlled by the child which forms a driving game in itself. They may end up enjoying this section more than the actual learning activities which would defeat the whole object of a learning package!

The separate word processing section of the package at first seems to be an excellent idea. A child can acquaint itself with the basic functions of a "grown up" word processor while increasing its vocabulary through the various word games and stories. However, the range of icons to choose from is a little confusing for a child and their concentration may easily wander.

There are a wide variety of activities included which range from Tricky Trees, a memory game where children must repeat sequences of notes, to Beach Sorter, where the aim of the activity is to place objects or animals into groups.
These are varied enough to keep a child's interest for quite a while but some levels may need lengthy explanations from a parent.

How much of a learning aid Noddy's Big Adventure actually will be is questionable. Although many parts of a child's early education are covered in this package, the way in which a child finds out whether they have successfully answered an activity is unhelpful.

Instead of pointing out why the child has got an activity wrong, it will simply say "No, listen carefully" for example, which may be quite disconcerting to a younger child. They may also become distracted by the not so educational features such as the driving game and the interactive screens.

Parental assistance may also be required for younger children to explain why they may be getting something wrong and to help them find the activity they want.

It's worth noting that Noddy's Big Adventure does require a minimum of 1Mb to run (2Mb if run from hard disk).

Noddy's Big Adventure logo

Learning can be fun with the Amiga's range of educational software. Julie Tolley checks out the latest offering for the youngsters...

THE AIM OF this package for three to seven-year-olds is to teach English, Maths and Technology skills via gameplay. Noddy's Big Adventure starts on the road. You are in control of his car, and using a joystick or arrow keys, you tootle along and pick up people who wave and need a lift, drop them off, or park in your very own taxi ranks to start playing one of the seven games on offer.

The driving parts of this package acts as a link to the four scenes and their games. In Noddy's House you can play Kitchen Fun or Noddy's Scales; in The Dark Wood, Tricky Trees and Can You Find Me; in Monkey Town, Bert's Scrapbook; and At The Beach, Beach Sorter and I.

In Noddy's house, if you click on the scales, you can play the maths-based Noddy's Scales or you can go into the kitchen and by clicking on the cooker, have the option to play Kitchen Fun where you have to decide which cupboards go together to make a nice meal, or in the harder levels which one make up the meal you are told to make.

In Beacher Sorter, the easy level finds you matching shapes and colours of pebbles to buckets, and the harder levels, matching animals to their habitats or group type.

Picnic Attack is less educational, but definitely more fun - you have to stop crabs and lobsters from eating your picnic by firing water at them. Move on to Monkey Town and you can play Bert's Scrapbook, which encourages sequencing skills by presenting a storyboard in which the pictures, and on harder levels, the captions, have to be put in the correct order.

In The Dark Wood you can play Tricky Trees or Can You Find Me. Both aim to improve memory as well as reinforcing ideas of shape and colour. Music is introduced in the Tricky Trees game, where each tree has a different coloured nose each with its own note, and you have to copy a music sequence by clicking on the noses.

All of these games cover much the same skills and lessons as the original Noddy's Playtime, but the size and variety of the games in this package is much larger. Where the first release had a Paint Pot game where children could create their own images, Noddy's Big Adventure has a kiddie-style word processor designed to 'acquaint children with the basic functions found in similar grown-up utilities'.

Noddy's Big Adventure is a well-presented and colourful package. It is easy to use and follow, although if you do not install it on your hard disk, swapping between the four disks can be irritating and more importantly, awkward, for young children. The controls are a little slow and sometimes they do no keep up with you, but overall this is certainly a game Enid Blyton would be proud of.