Tales from Paradise Park (Featuring Skipper and Skeeto)
Under cover of a crackling storm the wicked witch swoops in through the window and snatches the good fairy's magic wand. The good fairy groans in despair because without her wand she is grounded. She rushes to her wishing well and immediately asks Skipper and Skeeto to get it back. She tells them that the wicked witch has hidden it somewhere in Paradise Park and that if Skipper and Skeeto seek out all the animals that live in the park and help them to find their lost items, then they in turn will help to prise the wand from the clutches of the wicked witch.
So begins this sweet little play and learn adventure with Skipper the Mole and Skeeto the mosquitoJ . Essentially the game play involves one big treasure hunt. Hunt down the park residents, find out what they have lost, and then hunt down the relevant items to keep them happy. And it's a hunt that's all good fun in this brightly coloured land consisting of 48 locations and a host of creatures to interact with.
Rubin the Rabbit has lost his trousers, Bessie Bee needs a pail for her honey, Murray the Monkey wants some music, and there's sure to be something useful in the tree house if the five missing rungs of the ladder can be found.
Diligent searching is a must in this game and it's a delight to do so. Skeeto will often give some information, a hint, about a particular location, and she even has a good idea how to deal with the wicked witch's minions who block some pathways. Skeeto doesn't help to find the missing items though; this is up to the player. Sometimes they are easy to spot but at other times it's a real 'hunt the thimble' exercise because they are well camouflaged by the colourful scenery, demanding acute attention to detail to find them.
Trying to find an elusive item that might be cunningly hidden in any one of the locations is a challenge. Too challenging, maybe, for impatient kids. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however, because the magic mirror will help to locate an item for the small cost of 50 magic points. Although magic points are collected up for every completed quest, they are not sufficient to buy many hints.
This is where the learning component of Paradise Park comes into play. In order to earn more magic points and get some handy help, the player can take a book from the shelf and play a game. There are around 10 different games, not all of the same merit, but mostly very good. As well as a memory game there are games that teach telling the time on an old fashioned analogue clock, number and letter recognition, spelling and arithmetic. They reward the player with magic points and speed up progress in the game.
Aimed at "Little Monsters Aged 4 - 12 " maybe Paradise Park might be a little too young for the upper end of this age group. It is, however, a bright and cheerful journey that sneaks in a slice of lively learning that shouldn't hurt one bit J. All the dialogue is subtitled except the opening scene where the good fairy issues her instructions, and I should also point out that the spelling and pronunciation are in English English, hence 'flavour' not 'flavor' and 'zed' not 'zee'.
First released in the late 90s (in Danish I think) Tales from Paradise Park had an English release in 2000. This means that it is a couple of years old and lacks a bit of sophistication, but don't let this put you off. It's still a good game, and it's especially good for the older computer that's been retired to the kids' playroom or bedroom.
See the metzomagic.com Tales from Paradise Park walkthrough.
Copyright © Rosemary Young 2001.
All rights reserved.
486, Win 95/98, 8MB RAM, 44 MB Hard Disk space, CD ROM, 256 colour display, 16 bit sound card, mouse.