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spacer all reviews > > > preschool software

Caterpillar Adventures in Time

Mattel Interactive

Ages 5 and up

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
2.5
Kid Appeal
2.5
Ease of Use
4.5

Adventures in Time Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Adventures in Time allows the player to operate Catepillar construction machines in 5 different time periods/locations: Camelot, ancient China, Rome, Egypt, and on the moon. In each time zone the user is given two simple projects to complete using a variety of CAT machines available at the site. For example, in Rome the user is placed at a Coliseum-like site called the Circus Maximus where the job is to level the arena floor and pave the track to make chariot racing safer and more efficient.

A few 3-D question marks appear at different locations. When touched by one of the vehicles, pertinent educational tidbits are shared with the operator. Oops- CRASH - poor driving can result in demolished buildings and landscape! Don't worry these are quickly repaired by the citizenry who scurry around trying to avoid being run over.

When tasks are completed in each time period, the user receives a picture which can be printed and assembled into a 3-D model. The program has an easy and normal mode, and the music/sound effects can be turned on or off.

Educational Value
Apart from the few facts shared by interfacing with the scattered question marks at various sites, there is not a lot of knowledge imparted to the user. The timeline shows historical perspective (we are stretching here...) but Adventures in Time's primary focus is in communicating simple directions which direct children to complete an elementary task. It is a basic program and introduces the very young to manipulating the mouse in simple ways.

Kid Appeal
Adventures in Time is definitely a 'boy toy.' It even comes with a palm-size yellow Caterpillar dump truck! Aimed for the age when kids are enamored with big construction equipment and just can't get enough of those trucks, it is simple enough for preschoolers to use and a good way to introduce them to manipulating mouse/screen movement coordination. The catapult and accidentally running into things are fun, however, even these lose amusement value after so many repetitions. The more savvy child will find this too simplistic. Mattel's recommended rating is E for everyone and is suggested for ages 5 and up, but our reviewers felt that any youngster ready to point and click the mouse will find this a gentle introduction to computer use. Most 6-7 year olds are ready for more complex programs.

Ease of Use / Install
On our Windows ME test machine, the installation was seamless and took only a few minutes. Navigation through the program was straightforward and uncomplicated.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Adventures in Time is geared for the young child, especially boys, and especially boys who like trucks! Preschoolers will be able to entertain themselves without parental assistence using this program but its educational value is minimal.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other preschool software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC-only program.

System Requirements
PC: Microsoft Windows 95/98, Pentium 166 MHz or faster cpu, 40 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, 4X or faster CD-ROM, .

Reviewed on:

  • PentiumIII 700 with 128MB and 24xCD
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