Publisher: Warner Bros. Games
Genre: Video GamesPreschool
Release Date: 06/15/2012
Platform(s): Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS
Online Enabled: No
ESRB Rating: EC
Common Sense Says: Making music with Elmo and Abby is educational and fun.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece is an adventure game that introduces kids to the basics of making music. It stars preschool favorites Elmo and Abby Cadabby, and also includes the Count and the ever-entertaining Honkers. The games are perfect for preschoolers and the characters do a nice job of integrating musical facts in their casual conversation. Many of the games on the Wii involve making certain motions -- jump, tilt, rotate, etc. -- that the game doesn't always recognize. Parents can "take over" the game using a second remote if a child gets stuck. Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece has a parent area that can be accessed using a second remote. It includes gameplay statistics and the ability to create custom playlists of favorite games.
- Families can talk about rhythm. What exactly is a rhythm? Do you like playing rhythm games?
- Families can also talk about musical notes. If you have an instrument at home, show how songs are made up of musical notes and how the same notes can make a completely different song.
What's the story?
In ELMO'S MUSICAL MONSTERPIECE, Elmo and Abby Cadabby set out on a journey to learn more about musical instruments, rhythm, pitch, and tempo. Along the way, they'll play a variety of games on their own, with the Count, and with a group of Honkers. One of the games is "Grab That Instrument" where Abby asks the player to help her collect a specific type of instrument as they fly by. Another, "Ring Ring Quack" has kids creating patterns of sounds by collecting certain items in a pre-determined order. In "Shake Your Maracas," kids help Elmo make music by shaking the Wii remote. When the music stops, the kids have to stop shaking. Kids can play through the entire story line of Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece, choose the game they want to play, or use a custom playlist of games that their parents have created.
Is it any good?
Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece does a good job of presenting directions, and the games seem to flow together. When kids make a mistake (or the controls don't register properly), the prompting is subtle, but effective. The characters gently remind kids of the objective. The games are cute and have a certain repetition that allows kids to progress in skill without feeling like they're playing the same game over and over.Perhaps the only thing lacking in the gameplay is some freeplay activity without a specific outcome attached. Some of the games would lend themselves to open exploration and many kids will crave some of that time for experimentation. The parental area is fine, and it's nice to have the curriculum goals for each area, but the statistics don't have a lot of substance. Despite these minor shortcomings, Sesame Street: Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece is a wonderful educational title for introducing kids to music, and a fun game in entertainment value alone.
How to play
Playbility: For the Wii version, kids use the Wii remote held sideways along with the B button. This is less intuitive for kids who are already familiar with the traditional upright hold on the remote. The DS version uses the stylus. The Wii version doesn't always respond as quickly/accurately as you like, but the kids don't seem to care. The DS version allows for more accuracy, but loses some of the fun of the jumping and dancing kids do with the Wii.
The Good Stuff
Messages: The game encourages kids to support and help others and enjoy listening to and creating music.
Educational Value: Kids can learn a variety of basic music skills, from identifying musical instruments to understanding pitch and tempo to following a rhythm. They can also learn about numbers and shapes.
Role Models: The characters treat each other with kindness and respect and encourage kids to do the same.
Ease of play: For the Wii version, kids use the Wii remote held sideways along with the B button. This is less intuitive for kids who are already familiar with the traditional upright hold on the remote. The DS version uses the stylus. The Wii version doesn't always respond as quickly/accurately as you like, but the kids don't seem to care. The DS version allows for more accuracy, but loses some of the fun of the jumping and dancing kids do with the Wii.
What to watch out for
Violence & scariness: Not an issue
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: The game is based on the highly commercialized characters of the Sesame Street brand. In particular, the game focuses on Elmo, one of the most commercially available and desired of the Sesame Street lineup. The game itself doesn't include advertising.