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spacer all reviews > > > problem solving software

Yoda's Challenge Activity Center

Lucas Learning

Ages 6 to 8

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
3.5
Kid Appeal
5.0
Ease of Use
4.8

Yoda's Challenge Activity CenterScreen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

On the heels of their previous releases, Droid Works and The Gungan Frontier, Lucas Learning introduces Yoda's Challenge, Star Wars software for the younger set. Picking up where the blockbuster movie “Episode 1 The Phantom Menace” left off, the user is transported to the Council Chambers at the Palace of the Jedi where Yoda awaits the new recruit. With characteristic wisdom and serenity, Yoda invites the user to undertake six training missions that will challenge and strengthen his or her mental abilities in true Jedi tradition.

Contrary to potential expectations, Jedi training does not involve light saber duels or high-speed flights through far away galaxies. Users can choose to assist Queen Amidala and Jar Jar in maze-like races, trap recalcitrant droids by repeating syncopated drum beats, navigate and explore Naboo caves in Indiana Jones-like style, program C-3PO’s memory with deft sentence construction, and help Jar Jar unscramble the Queen’s computer by completing Tangram puzzles that transform, upon completion, into renown Star Wars characters and vehicles.

Educational Value
Yoda’s Challenge Activity Center is not a highly academic program. It does, however, tackle critical thinking and problem solving skills that will help kids in many areas of future study. Additional skills touched on by this program include: music and rhythm skills, map reading, spatial orientation, following directions, reading, counting, vocabulary, and geometry. Four difficulty levels provide ample puzzle solving opportunities for Star Wars fans within and beyond the recommended age range.

Kid Appeal
Yes, the Star Wars theme assured the attention of our kid testers before they even loaded the program. As they tackled the activities, even our rare skeptics admitted that it provided plenty of unmitigated fun. Kids especially loved capturing droids in various inventive (and non-violent) traps, traipsing noisily through eerie caves as lizards and spiders scamper to and fro, and collecting colorful pages of Star Wars trivia as rewards for solving geometric puzzles. Activities are challenging, but not frustrating, and successfully completed missions earn users printable certificates personally signed by Yoda, the ultimate Jedi Master.

Ease of Use / Install
This program installs without difficulty. Two installation options are available for Windows users, a typical install, which requires 28 MB and installs the minimum required file set, or the complete install, which requires 254 MB and installs additional files that may improve program performance. We used the typical install and did not experience any performance difficulties.

Program navigation is simple. Yoda is present to provide written and verbal assistance with each activity. Volume and brightness can be adjusted from the Options Screen, and subtitles can be added if so desired.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This program fits nicely in the ‘edutainment’ category. It challenges kids to think and interact, while offering them fantastical Star Wars fun. It is not, however, recommended for those who seek a strictly educational title.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other problem solving software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and the Mac versions.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98, Pentium class 133MHz or faster cpu, 80 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, DirectX compatible PCI or AGP graphics card, Quad-speed IDE or SCSI or faster CD-ROM, DirectX compatible 16-bit sound card.

Mac: System 7.6 or higher, 160 MHz Power PC 603e, 120 MHz PowerPC 604 or any G3 or faster processor, 30 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, 640x480 display with thousands of colors, Quad-speed or faster CD-ROM.

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
  • Pentium266 with 64MB and 12XCD
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