What is Mike the Knight and the Great Gallop?
Mike the Knight and the Great Gallop is a simple mini-game collection for the 3DS aimed squarely at the youngest players. Wrapping nine easy to pick up and play mini-games in a story that may as well have been lifted straight from the TV show of the same name, it's sure to appeal to all of the little Mike the Knight fans out there. The game sees players helping young Mike pull off the annual Great Gallop Day festival, where he has to stand in for his absent father and lead the celebrations. Taking in everything from jam tarts to meddlesome Vikings and errant spells, it's a nice, short little tale that's sure to win over fans of the brave prince's escapades.
How do you play Mike the Knight and the Great Gallop?
Taking on a selection of nine mini-games, from familiar fare like pairs, connect four, and match three, to more original challenges that see you bouncing barrel-bound Vikings across the screen, shooting arrows at targets and shuffling pipe pieces to make a chute, there's a lot of variety here.
In keeping with its target audience, each mini-game has suitably simple controls, some of which use the 3DS' Touch Screen, while others use the +Control Pad. As an example, one mini-game sees Mike riding along with a butterfly net in hand, catching letters as they fly past, as a result of one of Evie's many spell-related mishaps. By pressing up or down on the +Control Pad you can extend or contract his net in order to catch the letters, which come zooming by at different heights. The game ends once you miss five letters - which could be a few seconds in, or several hundred letters later; Mike the Knight doesn't judge.
How easy is Mike the Knight and the Great Gallop to pick up and play?
Fully narrated, even youngsters who can't read should have little trouble getting to grips with Mike the Knight and the Great Gallop's story mode, although, unusually, the instructions for the mini-games themselves are relayed solely through text. However, generally speaking the mini-games are pretty intuitive and easy to follow, and there's no penalty for mucking up a mini-game - the game simply says 'Well Done!' regardless of your score, and moves onto the next.
Arguably the trickiest mini-game here is 'Mission Mess', where players have to shuffle a trio of the town crier, baker and blacksmith left and right to catch their relevant items as they roll along a series of conveyor belts (horseshoes for the blacksmith, jam tarts for the baker, etc). Requiring some fairly fast fingerwork and decent planning skills, it may be a little difficult for the younger end of Mike the Knight's fanbase - but, as before, nothing really happens if you score zero either so it's not the end of the world. Three different difficulty levels under 'Options' on the main menu let you tweak things to suit your child's skill level too, with harder levels increasing the number of cards in pairs, or speeding up conveyor belts to make things a bit more challenging.
It is worth noting that the mini-games in Mike the Knight and the Great Gallop are near identical to those found in other GSP children's 3DS games like Thomas & Friends: Steaming Around Sodor and Fireman Sam: To The Rescue, albeit given a Mike the Knight-inspired lick of paint!
Much like the accompanying TV show, Mike the Knight and the Great Gallop is a kid-friendly title with nothing untoward at all - there's no bad language, violence or sex references at all.