It's a jungle out there! Time to bone up on your word search skills.
Disguised as a trip to the jungle, Junior Classic Games is an educational title meant to cater to the elementary school crowd. As a 30 year old reviewer without children, it is difficult for me to gauge the educational value of such a game, however having played several games in the same vein as Junior Classic Games, I feel fully qualified in saying that while the game might have some educational value, it falls far short in terms of presentation and overall production values.
When you first load up the title, you are greeted with a screen asking you to create a profile which saves your high scores, and then immediately given access to all six categories of games: Music, Memory, Observation, Word, Jigsaw, and Miscellaneous. With thirty games in total, Junior Classic Games seems to offer a wide variety of kid-friendly entertainment. When you start to dig into the games, however, you'll find that many are carbon copies. For example, there are three different versions of the classic memory game where you flip over cards to try to find two matching cards. In one version, you try to find two matching pictures; in another, you attempt to match words with pictures; in the third, you match a number with the number of objects in the photo. Though these three variations do offer different things for a learning mind to wrap their head around, from a gameplay standpoint, they are virtually identical.
The quality of these games varies drastically, ranging from somewhat awful to somewhat fun. In one case, a music game tries to ape Guitar Hero by sliding circular notes toward the bottom of the screen and asking you to touch them as they reach the bottom. This would be fine, except the music and the notes don't seem to match up at all. The music is actually a 20-30 second clip, which means that levels that run longer than 30 seconds have an audible loop in the music, which is really distracting. Some of the games, however, are actually quite fun. The game contains several versions of Sudoku, depending on if you want to play with numbers, letters, or pictures of wild animals. There is also a word search that plays well with the stylus and fits the jungle theme well.
Each of the games has three difficulty levels. And while some of the changes between difficulties are very obvious, such as a smaller or larger Sudoku grid, other games seem to have very minor differences between difficulty settings such as fewer tries on a game that plays identical on all difficulties.
The graphics in the game are very simplistic with only 2-3 frame animations and static backgrounds. In some cases the art looks hand drawn and cartoony, but in other cases there are more photo-realistic pictures. One of the puzzles in particular asks you to identify different types of snakes, but without any sort of training, it's merely guesswork based on the art, which is far from perfect.
The sound, like the graphics, is incredibly simplistic, and features lots of jungle-related sound effects such as monkeys screeching and birds chirping. The music in the game is completely forgettable, but might appeal to kids if they're really into the jungle setting. The music related games are actually entirely playable with the sound off, as they are merely an audio-enhanced version of Simon Says or the Guitar Hero mimic mentioned above.
While there's enough variety in Junior Classic Games to keep a child's interest, there are games that are far more suited to provide the same experience. Nintendo's own Big Brain Academy has many of the exact same mini-games, and provides them with crisp, clear and colorful presentation, making the versions in Junior Classic Games feel like dime-store knockoffs. If you have access to Big Brain Academy, it's far more likely to draw interest in because the game actively communicates with you. With Junior Classic Games, you are merely presented with icons that don't even describe what the game might be. How is anyone supposed to understand that the "count the dots" game is the giraffe icon? Its presentation flaws like this that make Junior Classic Games fall far short in a crowded genre.