This is the latest title in a series of games starring a curious and helpful little girl named Millie Meter. This time around, Millie encounters a family of giants, each member of which isn't feeling up to par. One giant, for example, can't seem to shake off a cold and is tired all the time. And, incidentally, she never touches fruits or vegetables!
Millie does the family a gigantic favor by hopping into her Heliball and entering Bulk the Giant's body. Her adventure-and investigation-begins in the mouth, because as the mouth's attendant, Herbert Swallow, promptly informs players, digestion starts here, not in the stomach. Later, Millie meets up with other interesting hosts of different areas of Bulk's body, such as Fussy, the guard in Bulk's throat, who is in charge of the epiglottis, and Chop-Chop, who manages the small intestine area.
The overall goal of the program is to collect the six pieces of the Golden Pyramid, each representing a food group. This is accomplished by uncovering a game in each area of the body. These games provide activities that range from creativity and strategy to arcade-style. Children categorize food items into sweet, salty, sour, and bitter tastes by placing each on the appropriate part of the tongue in the Tongue Taste Test. In another, they assemble jigsaw puzzles. The creativity activity is based on a rather simple idea, but is surprisingly fun: Kids create works of art using only pieces of food. Because each food item can be resized and rotated, plenty of food masterpieces can be made. Our testers made a funny character out of a stalk of wheat, pair of cherries, whipped cream, lemon slice, and assorted goodies. Other activities, experiments, and interesting "clickables" abound, and many can be sent to the printer for extended learning after the computer is shut down.
Though the program is dotted with information tidbits about the body, players tend to come away from the adventure having absorbed the important message that "we are what we eat."
Still, some lessons stand out for their excellent presentation. How elimination is handled in this title is natural and fun. Chloe is the Bathroom Lady whose kingdom is the bowels, and she tells kids in a matter-of-fact tone that the bucket of brown liquid "is still runny but I'll get it firmer, don't you worry!" Such details add to the value of the program in their lack of self-consciousness.
The one concern with this adventure is the jabbing between the rotund giant and the skinny one, in which a few insults are exchanged. Though it's meant to be funny, it might encourage children to engage in name-calling on playgrounds. The program can be a little preachy in the areas of nutrition and weight, but it succeeds in conveying the larger lesson that the food choices people make are important ones. It's a valuable reminder for all children.
One of the wonderful features of this game is the ability to toggle between English (UK), French, and German languages at any point along the way. Kids can listen to Herbert Swallow's little ditty about the importance of brushing teeth, for example, in all three languages without disrupting their game path at all. This was also a fun feature for testers as they learned how each food item in the tongue-tasting game is spoken in each of the featured languages.
Children accustomed to a faster pace and the ability to hop ahead at any time in a program may find the inability to bypass sequences difficult to "stomach." Many parents, on the other hand, will consider the program's slower pace a bonus. It's a chance for children to slow down, enjoy, and absorb all of the program's clever information tidbits.
Players use strategy and logic to learn about nutrition, relevant body parts and their functions.
Learning is almost incidental, which makes it all the more effective! Children absorb a smattering of facts about the body and benefit from the powerful message that the foods we choose to eat have a strong impact on how our bodies function. Parents will appreciate the fact that the American Dietetic Association edited this program and will find the foreign language component a wonderful addition.
A quietly entertaining time is in store for kids. This game may not hold the attention of children accustomed to higher energy computer experiences but should be pleasurable for most.
The program has a slow pace, partly due to the inability to move forward in the game without having to sit through sequences and chatter. On the whole, however, the design works well, and the addition of a toggle button for changing the language of the program on the spot is excellent.
The adventure may be rather fleeting for some, especially those on the upper end of the suggested age group, but enjoyable and informative nonetheless.
People who downloaded Millie Meter's Nutrition Adventure have also downloaded:
Mixed-Up Mother Goose Deluxe, Oscar the Balloonist Flies into the Mountains, Oscar the Balloonist Drops into the Countryside, Magic School Bus Explores Inside the Earth, Magic School Bus, The: Explores the Ocean, Disney's The Lion King Animated Storybook, Oscar the Balloonist Dives into the Lake, Carmen Sandiego: Junior Detective Edition
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