Meet the PooYoos - a cute, colourful group of baby animals, who are the stars of Learning with the PooYoos - an episodic collection of games, each about 30 minutes in length, designed to entertain, occupy, and occassionally even educate your little ones. Or, to paraphrase what the three year old we know would say:
"A ha ha ha ha! She said poo!"
Sometimes, it pays to see things from a child's perspective. When it comes to reviewing a game like the PooYoos, it helps a lot.
Aimed at children aged 3 to 6, the PooYoos are a colourful group of cute baby animals, who guide your little ones through a number of stages. There are two paths to choose from – either plants, or music, and the tasks your child gets given will be based loosely around each category.
Each path lasts around fifteen minutes, and is made out of three stages. On the plants path, there’s a hide and seek mini-game, a section where the PooYoos lead your child on a dance, and a flight into the sky on a magical plant. In the music section, your child will be tasked with waking the lazy PooYoos when they fall asleep during their band practice, and encouraged to sing along with the alphabet song, before being let loose and allowed to cause havoc on the final stage, which sees them pressing buttons and shaking the Wii Remote to trigger all sorts of crazy events, while your PooYoo attempts to take a walk.
Apart from the main menu, there’s practically no reading involved – instead, you get guided through each event by a friendly voice, that – although it’s obviously aimed at children, never sounds patronising or condescending - something that annoying Mr. Tumbles could do with taking on board. Unfortunately, however, on the few occassions the game does try and encourage your child to read, it does so using a font that's so curly, fancy, and elaborate that we bet many adults would struggle reading it - yet alone a child who's just learning to read!
Even more impressively, the educational aspect of the title’s been handled very well. It doesn’t go to lengths to cram your child’s head full of as many facts in as shorter length of time as it can, and if anything, it's probably more educational because of it. As an example, in the hide and seek game on the younger PooYoo setting, your child will be asked to find the panda, or the animal with the white head – while the big PooYoo difficulty challenges them to find the animal that lives in the sea (a turtle). Another neat touch is the way the game counts your points out loud as you earn them, which ought to subconciously help your child's maths.
Each path is about 15 minutes in length, and while your child may not be able to set it up themselves, once it’s started, it plays straight through from start to finish, just like a kids’ TV show. So much thought has gone into this, that the developers have even deliberately made it hard to pause accidentally - by forcing you to press the two hardest buttons, simultaneously, it'll be almost impossible for your child to accidentally pause the game, and end up confusing themselves). If there are any sections your child doesn’t like, it’s possible to skip over them - or repeatedly replay a section - in the pause menu.
Of course, that's not to say the game's completely flawless - there are a few small niggling faults here - the largest of which is actually the dancing level, which... Well, it's a bit rubbish. Asking your children to try and copy the cat's dance - and then having the cats perform a dance that's so weird and elaborate, we don't think any child could perform it, seems a bit of a strange thing to do - especially when the prompts keep telling you to "raise your arms in the air" - despite the cat doing nothing of the sort.
But with one duff section out of six, PooYoos: Episode 2 still has a strong showing - and comes highly recommended for young kids. A charming, colourful, and fun way to introduce your child to gaming on the Wii – and one of the few children’s games that seems to do just about everything right - while older children may find it a bit boring, or repetitive, or limited - for the younger ones (aged 3 to 4), and for just £3.50 - it's practically perfect.