Humongous really puts out some great software for kids, and the Pajama Sam series is no exception. No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside features some fine animation and sound and a compelling storyline which requires kids to use their problem-solving skills. It's meant for children between the ages of 3 and 8, but I would think this one would be a bit frustrating for the younger ones; it's really ideal for kids from 6 to 10, since there is some reading involved. Very young children should play this with a parent who can provide assistance along the way.
For older kids, though, this is a game which will really engage them. Like any good adventure game, there are items to pick up which the player can use to advance through each screen. For example, Sam finds a board lying in a stream early in the game. In the next screen, he gets some rope, which he can use when he goes back to the previous screen and tries to get the board. The board then comes in handy later, but what it's used for is up to the player to figure out. As a side game, there are socks to look out for along the way. Each one found goes into Sam's laundry basket, where it is matched with other socks. There are tens pairs in all.
There are also characters to interact with, such as King the mine car and Otto the boat. Each has a distinct personality, and kids will need to figure out how these denizens of the land of Darkness can help them in their journey. There is a certain order in which the various areas should be visited, which is why I think younger children will have trouble with this game; preschoolers really need an environment which emphasizes exploration through pointing and clicking, not complex problem solving. While the puzzles may be easy to an adult, sessions with my official playtester (who was seven at the time) confirmed that they're quite challenging for grade schoolers.
In the graphics department, this game is exceptional. There is plenty of attention to detail in the graphics (for example, watch the stars outside Sam's window twinkle; every so often a shooting star will go by), and they're bright and engaging. The animation of Sam's mouth doesn't match his dialogue, although that may have been because we were playing on a 24X CDROM drive when the game's minimum requirement is a double speed. The hot spots are also a lot of fun. Each one does three or four different things each time you click it.
Overall, this is an exceptional game which will provide plenty of challenges for grade school age kids.
Graphics: The attention to detail is superb. Make sure you click on hot spots more than once.
Sound: Plenty of incidental music keeps this game fun, as does the nice voice-work.
Enjoyment: Kids will really like this one.
Replay Value: The game is slightly different every time, but it should take a while to get through to the conclusion the first time.
Sam, a big fan of Pajama Man is to afraid to sleep, with Darkness in his closet. So he turns himself into Pajama Sam! With his Flashlight, his mask and Signature edition Pajama Man Lunchbox. Going into his closet, to The Land of Darkness, His things are stolen by trees, and are hidden throughout The Land of Darkness.
Its up to you to help Sam get around The Land of Darkness to find his stolen stuff. Along the way help Sam collect his missing socks, and solve challenging puzzles to help Sam find his stuff.
When you play different times getting Sam's stuff will seem easy, but as you play the game different times finding Sam's stuff gets harder. The game features collecting a lot of useful items such as an oil can, a pick axe and a magnet, and running into new friends such as Otto the boat and King the mine car.
People who downloaded Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside have also downloaded:
Pajama Sam 2: Thunder and Lightning aren't so Frightening, Pajama Sam 3: You Are What You Eat From Your Head To Your Feet, Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse, Freddi Fish 3: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell, Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds, Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, Putt-Putt Travels Through Time, Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon
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