Humongous Entertainment has done it again with Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds, an adventure game just about perfect for the 3-to-8-year-old age group it targets. The puzzles are difficult without being frustrating, and there are plenty of fun animations to watch and hot spots to click along the way.
There are lots of places to go in this game as kids navigate around Freddi's world in search of clues which will lead them to Grandma Grouper's stolen kelp seed treasure. Kids learn problem-solving skills as they pick up various items and try to figure out how to use them in order to get what they need. Sometimes the puzzles are easy to solve, such as finding the key to open the cage which Fiddler Crab is stuck in, while others, such as figuring out what to give the king, require solving two or three puzzles first before the goal becomes clear. While this may be difficult for kids who are preschool age, first and second graders should be able to follow the sequence of events needed to solve the crime.
Like the Putt-Putt and Pajama Sam series, Freddi Fish is full of well-done animations and engaging music. The characters are endearing, and the background music sets the tone nicely without being too overbearing. The hot spots are one of the best features, since they usually produce a variety of effects when clicked, which encourages plenty of exploring. This is good, especially for the younger kids, because they can feel like they're accomplishing something even if the gameplay is too hard.
There are also a couple extra activities in this game, such as a math quiz run by a starfish and a feeding game where the player controls Freddi and tries to throw jellyfish into the mouths of approaching fish, turtles, and octopii. The feeding game is fun (and, again, it's probably easier for older kids than younger ones), but the math activity feels tacked on, as if the people at Humongous felt obligated to throw in a feature which they could claim is educational. A better choice might have been a science-related activity which teaches children about the ocean and its inhabitants.
Minor quibbles aside, though, Freddi Fish is certainly a worthwhile addition to any child's PC game library.
Graphics: Very well done; the animations are great.
Sound: Nice background music, and the voices are fun.
Enjoyment: Overall, a fun game to play for kids (and adults, too).
Replay Value: Once the adventure is done, there probably won't be much replaying going on.
Freddi Fish and her pal Luther must find Grandma Grouper's missing kelp seeds. Without them, all the sea creatures will starve. Freddi and Luther follow clues through underwater caves and canyons and outwit two criminal sharks to recover the kelp seeds.
People who downloaded Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds have also downloaded:
Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell, Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse, Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside, Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon, Putt-Putt Travels Through Time, Pajama Sam 3: You Are What You Eat From Your Head To Your Feet, Pajama Sam 2: Thunder and Lightning aren't so Frightening
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