Immerse your young reader in an adventure that, yes, involves a computer, but sends them soaring on a quest that requires a bit of wit and a lot of imagination. Neighborhood Watch Kids and Duh Color Stuff is the name of the game, and kids get to join Maya, Arnold, Suzie, Billy and Johnny help solve mysteries that plague the neighborhood.
The mysteries are never the same and kids get to choose how each story and adventure unfolds as they analyze and choose the path to take. This is more than an online mystery story, this is an experience that fully absorbs kids and makes them a part of the plot.
Kids will traverse the town as they turn pages, gathering evidence, analyzing it, and then deciding on what to do an where to go next. No two adventures will be the same because each will transpire uniquely. Interspersed amongst the pages, splattered with hidden clues, are puzzles and games that may or may not help with the mystery, but are fun to play and build great problem-solving skills.
Taking place in a neighborhood called Watch, the mystery erupts when an unusual incident occurs on the playground. The kids, along with yours, then embark upon a journey around town to find clues, collect them on a well-designed “bulletin board” that saves your information even if you stop the game. Headquarters is a perfectly placed treehouse, where members gather to discuss events, information and what to do next.
What’s really cool about this game is that it not only teaches kids to think methodically and analyze what they see, but it forces them to also learn how to work as a team, because as you will see, when it comes time to making decisions, your child will not be able to single-handedly make a choice; there will be opposition to choices and opinions to deal with – which is what the real world is all about!
Navigation through the game is well designed, allowing for easy swiping from one page to another. Readers have a choice of reading the story on their own and driving their experience, or listening to a narrator and having the pages advanced for you. In both cases, readers can bookmark up to five pages that are chock full of information they may want to refer to often.
What would be nice for those who are still learning to read and are using the narrative option would be a feature that highlights words as they are spoken, so the narration is easy to follow and word recognition is easily absorbed.
Outside of that, Duh Color Stuff is worth the purchase. It gets kids off the gaming kick and introduces something more productive in terms of a learning experience and a product with lasting value, for minimal cost. The suggested age for players is 8 years and up, but if you have an avid reader, there’s no reason for you to wait and download this dynamic app.