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Review of Brøderbund's Logical Journey
of the Zoombinis Deluxe

by, Sarah and Perry Abouata, and Auntie Kathy

I got "Logical Journey of the Zoombinis" for a couple of reasons: 1) fun, 2) learning activities, and 3) mental challenges. Since my niece and nephew are home-schooled, I found "The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis" to be just the ticket for them to have fun with creative learning activities.

Brøderbund bills its CD as follows: "Logical Journey of the Zoombinis offers an engaging environment for kids to develop advanced mathematical and scientific problems solving skills. As the player's skills improve, each puzzle becomes more difficult to solve. Four levels of difficulty for all 12 puzzles ensure the ongoing development of critical thinking skills..." Skills developed include observation skills, data sorting and ordering, pattern finding, theory testing, graphing, logical reasoning, problem solving, statistical thinking, algebraic thinking, and set theory. Pretty hefty skills for a CD that's recommended for ages 9 and up!

To be truthful, I did not consult the User's Guide in the beginning. Needless to say, there were a handful of puzzles that were initially very difficult for me to solve. The kids, on the other hand, never consulted the User's Guide and figured out each puzzle very quickly. I figure there is some pattern that kids learn from playing computer games that we adults don't have a 'clue' about. Anyhow, they had to sit down and go through each puzzle with me in order for me to understand what was going on!

The various characters are quite engaging and playful. Zoombinis of course are the main characters you create at the beginning of the game. You can choose for each character (16 Zoombinis are needed to start each trip) their type hairstyle, eyes, nose, and 'feet'. Example: Hair: ponytail, buzz cut, bob, etc. Eyes: one eye, two eyes, sunglasses, glasses, etc. Feet: rollerblades, two feet, springfoot, etc. Noses vary by color.

Each puzzle has its share of unique characters associated with it such as animated sneezing cliffs in "Allergic Cliffs" puzzle; animated tree stump characters in "Pizza Pass"; tattooed toads in "Titanic Tattooed Toads puzzle; Zoombini-like creatures called Fleens that try to catch the Zoombinis in "Fleens".

There are four levels of difficulty: 1) Not So Easy, 2) Oh So Hard, 3) Very Hard, and 4) Very, Very Hard. You will automatically move to the next level when you get 3 full bands of 16 Zoombinis through each of the three puzzles in a particular leg of the journey. There are a total of four sets consisting of three puzzles each. The Big, the Bad and the Hungry Trail contains the Allergic Cliffs, Stone Cold Caves, and Pizza Pass puzzles. Who's Bayou?-- the trek north contains Captain Cajun's Ferryboat, Titanic Tattooed Toads, and Stone Rise. The Deep, Dark Forest--the southern trek contains Fleens!, Hotel Dimensia, and Mudball Wall. The Mountains of Despair--the subterranean journey hosts The Lion's Lair, Mirror Machine, and Bubblewonder Abyss puzzles.

There are wonderful dialogue, sound effects, and background music. Game Options allows you to turn certain things on/off to speed things up a bit.

System Requirements: Macintosh and Power Macintosh native, System 7.0.1 or higher, 25 MHz 80030 processor or faster; 8MB RAM, 5MB free; 1 MB available hard disk space; 2X CD-ROM drive or faster; 13-inch monitor or larger color; 256 colors. Windows 3.1 or Windows 95; 33MHz 486 or faster; 8 MB RAM; 3MB hard disk space; 2X CD-ROM drive or faster; SVGA monitor/display card, 640x480, 256 colors, Windows compatible sound device.

This CD is a real winner. I give it 5 stars.

Sarah's Impressions (age 13):

Overall, I think the game is 'cool'. I had the most fun creating the Zoombinis characters before the adventure started and playing Mudball Wall. Least fun was the Fleens; it was a hard area. You have to figure out how to get the Fleens off the tree branch and then for the bees in the beehive to chase the Fleens away. Good for kids 10 to adults.

Idea of the game: to get the Zoombinis from the Isle to Zoombiniville. There are certain patterns/matches you have to figure out. In Titanic Tattoed Toads, you have to match up the icon on the back of the toad to either the icon on the lily pads, shape of lily pad, color of icon, and/or icon's shape.

Changes She'd Make: make it easier to match up the characteristics of the Fleens to match the characteristics of the Zoombinis like in a key code. Ex.: a Fleen's red bandana equals a Zoombinis' hairstyle (ponytail or Mohawk or buzzcut, etc.). Ex: a Fleen's black nose equals a Zoombinis' red nose.

In the Titanic Tattoed Toads, I'd increase how fast the toads hop. Takes too long for the toads to complete their run.

Most challenging: Fleens. You really have to use your brainpower to figure this one out and Bubblewonder Abyss, you'll need to play it at least twice to get the hang of it.

Most boring: Hotel Dimensia is boring. You are timed by how fast you can match up the characters' features like hairstyles, eyes, feet, nose. Some characters have ponytails, some wear glasses, some wear sunglasses, some wear rollerblades, some have springs for feet, etc.

Could use more music. It would be nice to be able to pick the music that accompanies each segment in the Options. For example, Fleens plays rock. I'd like to have choices of R'n B or Alternative or Rap too.

When you successfully complete the game (each level), you should have an option to print out a certificate as a reward for a job well done.

Broderbund should sell the cartoon characters in the game and call it Mr. and Ms. Zoombinihead, like the Mr. Potatohead game. Broderbund should also have stickers and posters included with the game. Kids like that kind of stuff. Why doesn't Brøderbund have a cartoon show based on the Zoombinis and their adventures? On the Web, Brøderbund should have a Zoombini showroom where you could order Zoombini toys; download more character features, music, and new adventures to update the game. Maybe later, Broderbund could make the game into 3D and we could wear 3D glasses!

Pretty good graphics and color. Very well animated.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

Perry's Impressions (age 10):

I liked Mudball Wall the best.

Least fun: Titanic Tattooed Toads because it takes too long and you can't control the toads. It would be cooler if you could make the toads go where you direct them too.

Age appropriate: 8 to 13 (I guess he doesn't think adults would have fun! -ed)

Changes He'd make: to make it easier to pick the skill level.

Most challenging: the Fleens because it's hard to figure out how to match them up.

Most boring: Mirror Machine. Take two or three people per car rather than one to speed up the game.

I'd like to be able to take more than 16 Zoombinis at a time because you have to go back to the Zoombinis Isle three times in order to reach the next level. (You have to successfully take 16 Zoombinis through each of the three puzzles in one set in order to advance to the next level.)

Have a multi-player game, two players can play alongside each other.

I'd like to see the toads become pets for the Zoombinis.

Select music like R 'n R, jazz, country.

Zoombinis should be able to speak English. I couldn't understand their "doobledoodle dee goobaley doo" stuff. (I thought it was fanciful and kind of cute. -.ed)

I never read the User's Guide, just tried to figure out each adventure on my own. It was kind of hard, but I figured things outÉI've completed all the puzzles but I haven't gotten past the first level yet.

Great sound effects. Cool animation.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5 Overall, we rate "The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis" 4+ and a must buy if you have kids. Price from $34.95 -$39.95. Check your mail order catalogs for the best deal.



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