My oldest daughter is into Spiderman and other superheroes, so when I saw an opportunity to purchase a gently used copy of Spiderman and Friends for the Vsmile, I jumped on it.
The Vsmile is a system from VTech that plugs directly into the television. There are actually two systems- the Vsmile Pocket (sold separately) is a handheld gaming system that plays Vsmile games. My daughter played Spiderman and Friends on a Vsmile Pocket.
Spiderman and Friends is an educational video game that covers a wide variety of school subjects. There are two modes to the game- Learning Adventure and Learning Zone. There are also two levels of difficulty, so the game can grow with the child.
The Learning Adventure has four different games. Spidey travels to places like the zoo and the supermarket. I really enjoyed the supermarket game; you’re given a shopping list and you must go around the supermarket and count out the correct number of tomatoes or bottles of lemonade, etc. Some of the games are more confusing than others. The objectives aren’t exactly clear, and my daughter can get easily frustrated.
The Learning Zone offers four more games. These games are different than the games in the Adventure. The Zone games tend to be more fast-paced and require quick thinking.
While the game is called Spiderman and Friends, the games mostly feature Spiderman. You can push a button to switch to one of the other characters (Spidergirl or Wolverine), but there was only one instance when I was playing where I had to switch. I suppose that you can play with whichever character is your favorite. This is a little different than some of the other superhero games that we have where each character presents/stars in his/her own minigames.
I really am impressed by the amount of skills that they manage to cram into this game. They have spelling, addition, counting skills, logic skills, matching, recycling, and more.
Educational gaming systems are notorious for having graphics that are a little behind the times. When the hardware costs about half of the price of a “real” gaming system, you’re going to have to make some consolations when it comes to graphics. Now, Vtech has released two other systems since Vsmile, so this technology is several years old on top of already having a dated look. Everything is bright and clear, but the graphics have a rather unpolished look. This doesn’t bother my daughters, but it’s worth mentioning. On that note, the sound is rather tinny. In the Supermarket game, the enemies ride around on scooters and make the most awful screeching sound.
Vsmile games are not really sold in stores like Target or Wal-Mart. If you are looking for Vsmile game, I would suggest checking on Amazon. As of this writing, they offer a wide variety of new Vsmile games for low prices- with Prime shipping to boot! If you are unable to find what you are looking for on Amazon, I would suggest checking Ebay. They have many copies of Spiderman- some are new, and some are used- but you shouldn’t have trouble finding one for under $10.
I would recommend Spiderman and Friends. The game has a wide variety of educational activities. The objectives aren’t always as clear as they should be, but there is still plenty of fun to be had with Spidey and his friends.
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