'Kinect Sesame Street TV': Your 4-year-old will love it

palcala@herald-leader.comDecember 20, 2012 

The developers of Kinect Sesame Street TV have made a game with instructions that are easy for a 4-year-old to understand and interactive components that work great.

PHOTO COURTESY MICROSOFT

  • VIDEO GAME REVIEW

    'Kinect Sesame Street TV'

    About: Children can interact with episodes of the classic TV show.

    Players: Single, multiplayer

    Pros: The game gets kids involved in a variety of ways.

    Cons: Not all segments in an episode are interactive.

    Availability and price: $29.99 on Xbox 360 for eight 30-minute episodes or $4.99 per episode

    ESRB rating: eC (Early Childhood)

    Manifesto's rating: 8/10

    Metacritic rating: 7.6/10)

Judging Kinect Sesame Street TV for what it is — a cross between episodes of Sesame Street and a pre-school video game — it absolutely succeeds.

The video game uses Microsoft's motion-sensing Kinect to make your child part of the show, so to speak. It's just enough interaction to get them off the couch but not enough to be considered active.

My 4-year-old daughter and I started our Kinect Sesame Street TV experience with an episode called "Siblings" that she picked out. I stepped in to get the episode started since she's not familiar with the Xbox controller or Kinect. The episodes used have previously aired.

Kinect controls are generally not as intuitive as Microsoft makes it seem, so I was worried she would have a tough time. But hats off to the developers as they made the required gestures a perfect fit for a 4-year-old with almost no video game experience.

As the name implies, each segment of "Siblings" deals with having siblings. (My only child may disagree with our family planning choices.) The episode begins with a character holding a mirror and talking directly to the gamer. In the mirror is the view from the Kinect camera, which was a very easy way of getting her to step in the right place to interact.

Next up was Grover, who dropped a box of coconuts. Using a throwing motion, my daughter helped fill up the crate. Her face lit up as she interacted with the characters — counting with Count von Count and throwing a ball back back and forth with Elmo.

Surprisingly, all of the interactive components worked great and the instructions from the characters were done so well that my daughter never needed to ask me how to make it work.

Not all of the segments were interactive, and I found her crawling back up on the couch and sometimes forgetting that she had to step back in place to help out a Muppet when the time came.

But that didn't stop her from enjoying the game, so much so that we've had to watch the same episode several times.

Parents should be advised to check the parental controls on the console and online settings while your young child uses the game, as it takes photos that are stored.

Overall, it's a great title for kids and in our house, it's a great alternative to watching TV, though it's not a replacement for active play like some other Kinect games.

Pablo Alcalá: (859) 231-1604.

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