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This pleasant early learning program from the UK takes kids on an animated adventure with the charming young balloonist, Oscar. Oscar's balloon lets him magically travel through the seasons so that he can observe things not only as they appear, but also as they change--from Fall, to Winter, Spring and Summer. On his current adventure, Oscar lands on the dung heap home of eccentric animal researcher, Balthasar Pumpernickel.
Unfortunately, considering his occupation, Balthasar is afraid of animals. He is, therefore, understandably delighted when Oscar arrives and agrees to explore the farm with him. Kids join the duo as they meet and learn about farm animals and their families and friends through a variety of virtual interactions. As they interview the animals and explore their environments, users can also choose to play 12 amusing games, and find the ingredients to make a three course meal for Oscar and Balthasar.
The included games are appropriate for the targeted age-level but not remarkably innovative or entertaining. Their lack of spark does not, however, greatly detract from the program's overall appeal. They include such standards as matching animals to their sounds, making music with animal singers, sorting animal families, and finding hidden pictures, as well as a quirky game that matches animals to their dung.
Our testers expressed some dissatisfaction with the method used in collecting meal ingredients. "It's not clear how to collect ingredients!" commented one exasperated tester, "I can't tell if an 'X' means that I have the ingredient or I don't."
PC: Windows 95/98, Windows NT 4.0, 486 MHz or faster cpu, 8MB RAM, SVGA graphics card, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM, sound card.return to top of page
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