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Other Problem Solving Software Reviews

Freddi Fish and The Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds
by Humongous Entertainment

For Ages 3 to 8

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Problem Solving Skills software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of PC and Mac versions.


Reviewed on:
Children's Software Screen Shot PowerMac 6100/60 with 8MB and a 2XCD

Content
Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds is a problem solving program for young children. The program opens with a sad Grandma Grouper telling little Freddi that someone took her treasure chest - the one that contains all the kelp seeds necessary to grow their food. Until someone finds it, there will be nothing to eat. Freddi, joined by his best friend, Luther, set out to find the missing chest.

Children are supposed to help Freddi find the missing chest, by discovering clues in the form of messages in a bottle. Following the clues, the user must collect certain objects and tools that are required to get past various obstacles along the way. Much as in the early "Dungeons and Dragons" game, the user must remember the path followed - return trips to some locations are required. Interestingly, no reading ability is required - all the clues are visual or spoken.

Ease of Install / Use
Our reviewers reported no difficulties installing Freddi. They also reported that the program was easy to use, "... once you learned how to move from screen to screen. With no onscreen directions, I had to look in the jewel case manual to learn that moving the cursor to the screen edge offered a way to move. While I was reading, my 6 year old daughter had already figured it out," noted one parent reviewer. But at other times, our young reviewer said she "..wanted my mom's help when I had trouble finding things."

Methodology
The educational proposition in Freddi is that critical thinking capabilities are developed through problem solving experiences. In Freddi, the user must actively direct the lead characters to locate and recover the stolen seeds. We found that the process of uncovering clues, collecting helpful tools, and exploring multiple pathways did indeed stimulate our children reviewers' thinking processes. In fact, several of our parent reviewers also noted that they felt their own problem-solving skills were exercised by the program!

Proxy Parent Value
Proxy parent value is SuperKids measure of the interest holding power of a program. Freddi scored well on this important measure. "My daughter spent more than hour on the program the day it came out of the box," reported our parent reviewer, "and I think it will continue to hold her interest. It's a very interactive program, and much better than most TV programming aimed at this age group."

Best for...
Freddi is best for the child who likes to solve puzzles, problems, and challenges. Conversely, a child who gives up easily, or who wants immediate solutions, will not enjoy Freddi. "This program makes you work for the solution," noted another parent reviewer.

Bottom-Line
This is a graphically beautiful program, with true cartoon quality animation. The problem solving skills required are excellent exercises in critical thinking.


See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Problem Solving Skills software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of PC and Mac versions.


Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows 3.1 or higher System 7.0 or higher
CPU Type and Speed 486/33 or faster 68040/25 or faster
Hard Drive Space 2.5 MB none
Memory (RAM) 8 MB 8 MB
Graphics 640 x 480 x 256 color SVGA 540 x 480 x 256 color
CD-ROM Speed 2X 2X
Audio Sound Card n/a
Other Needs


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