Mixed-up Mother Goose Deluxe

Developer/Publisher:  Sierra
Year Released:  1995

Review by Rosemary Young (February, 1996)
mgoose.jpgAimed at pre-school children, Sierra's Mixed-up Mother Goose Deluxe is planted firmly in familiar ground for its age group. It is based on nursery rhymes so there are appearances by Little Bo Peep, Little Jack Horner, Jack and Jill and Humpty Dumpty, to name but a few. It's not a 'new' title as such, but this Deluxe version for both IBM and Mac is delightfully entertaining with quirky animations, bright and colourful graphics and a suitably up-beat sound track. Also, it is playable in both English and Spanish.

Treasure Hunt
The game begins by offering the child a choice of character to guide through their journey, and at a click of the mouse button the chosen character starts out tucked up in bed. A short dream sequence later he or she is deposited outside the house of Mother Goose who laments that her rhymes are mixed up because the various nursery rhyme characters have lost essential items to compete their rhymes.

There are 18 mini quests in all which involve finding such items as Jack and Jill's pail, Bo Peep's Sheep, etc. These are scattered around the game world as are the nursery rhyme characters. The child must wander around to meet the characters and learn what they are missing, then find the lost items and return them to their owners. Returning items initiates an animated sequence accompanied by a lively musical rendition of the respective nursery rhyme.

Simple interface
The game is very easy to operate with a point and click interface for character movement and automatic save upon quitting. Although there is no text accompanying the spoken dialogue every word is crystal clear. And, just to be sure that all is understood, when a character asks for an item, a picture of that particular item is displayed for easy identification.

An egg carton occupies the left-bottom of the screen and fills up with golden eggs as the quests are completed. Items are 'picked-up' when the character passes near them and there is only one inventory slot. Hence, if an item is already held in the inventory, it will be replaced by the newly discovered item and the old one will be dumped in that particular screen. This adds to the fun as well as to the complexity of the game. Not only do children need to recall the location of the nursery rhyme characters and various quest objects, but it is also helpful to remember where items are dropped off.

Perfect introduction
This is the perfect title to buy as a starting out computer game. Not only will young children feel quite at home with the characters but they will surely have lots of fun completing the treasure hunt as well. Also, it is eminently replayable because the items, and at least one of the nursery rhyme characters, are randomly placed. Hence the pail or the sheep will not be conveniently located in the same screen each time the game is started.

The package also includes a music CD of the various nursery rhymes which are quite catchy. In the up-beat rhythms you will recognise every kind of popular music imaginable from Reggae to Blues to Country and Western. You might even find yourself bopping along with the kids. rating:  

Copyright © Rosemary Young 1996. All rights reserved.