Team Umizoomi and Dora’s Fantastic Flight (DS)

Two of Nick Jr.’s most popular stars are teaming up for an adventure! Dora the Explorer and her monkey pal Boots are getting ready for a ride in a blimp. But Swiper the Fox and the Shape Bandit have teamed up as well to swipe all the airship parts. Now it’s up to Dora and Boots to work together with Team Umizoomi to recover the lost pieces of the airship so they can all take a ride in this 2-D platform jumping adventure geared toward preschoolers on the Nintendo DS.

In the game there are four worlds with four levels each. In each stage you’ll run, jump, and tap on the touch screen to search for air crystals to power the blimp. If you collect enough crystals in each level, you’ll get a silver or gold flight badge. Hidden in each level is a magic wand that’ll give you a paint hue when you are ready to color the balloon on the airship. You can control the game entirely with the touch screen and stylus and DS microphone, but if your young gamers are used to holding a controller, the D-pad and buttons are an easier way to play the game.

In each level your kids will switch to the different characters at various points. Depending on who they’re controlling, they’ll play a different learning game to bypass a gate or other obstacle. As Dora, they’ll have to select the right picture on a key and say that word in Spanish to open a gate. With Boots, they’ll have to match colors to make a bridge. Geo makes platforms appear by choosing and tracing the right shapes. Help Milli cross a bridge by selecting the right block in a pattern. And Bot must place numbers in sequence to open a gate to proceed. To mix things up, in some levels you may have to drive a vehicle though an overhead maze to the goal instead. When all the levels are completed, your child will be able to build and color the airship and play some high flying mini-games.

Kid Factor:

No reading is necessary as all the instructions are in spoken voice from the characters. Number recognition is helpful, though. There is no way to die or lose in the game so your child should be able to play on their own without getting frustrated. Think of it as their first Mario platformer. The adventure is pretty long for a preschool game, but the levels do get repetitive after a while. Team Umizoomi and Dora’s Fantastic Flight is rated EC for Early Childhood.

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