Dec 202011
 

2011 Holiday Gift Guide – Suggestions For Teens/Him/Her
(Be sure to check out all the other great Gift Guide items and giveaways here.)
We enjoy most of those singing shows that are on TV – you know, the ones that pluck people out of relative obscurity and give them a chance to be a star?  A1 even considered trying out for one when they came to town a few years ago (she should have; that girl can sing).  So when we had the chance to try out the new Sing4: The Hits Edition, I knew it was going to be a winner.
Sing4 is unique in the fact that it’s the first singing game with high-precision lyrics that can tell the difference between actually singing and just humming.  It also comes with 40 songs from artists like Train, the B52s, Lady Gaga, Carrie Underwood, Michael Bubl√©, Queen and many others.  You can also download additional tracks to give you even more to choose from.  The game has four modes: Solo, Duet (sing together, each taking a different part; highest score wins), Battle (up to four compete by singing the same piece, highest score wins), and Co-op (combined score; everyone sings the parts they’re best at).
The words come up on the screen, just like karaoke.  And once A2 pointed out to us that the next line of lyrics was on the screen in the line under the current lyrics, we were all much more successful.  The bars that are superimposed on the video (see below) let you know if the notes will be high/low or go up/down and also give you a sense for how long the sound should be held.  You’ll also get instant feedback – like “Perfect!” and “Try Harder!”.
We’ve had a lot of fun with this game.  There is a good mix of songs, so everyone is able to find something they like or at least remotely know the words to.  I am glad, too, that there are more songs available via download (I hope they add more soon, too).  Everyone took a turn – some braver (younger) folks took a few.  Even Baby C. was doing her little “dance” while everyone sang.  There was a lots of friendly competition; I have to be honest and say A1 and A2 kicked our butts.  Still, it’s nice to be able to find a game the whole family can play together.
Sing4 is also sponsoring a contest right now.  You could win $10,000 just by singing one of four songs and uploading your video.  Videos must be uploaded by January 31st, 2012; visit their YouTube page for more info.
Where to Buy:
Sing4: The Hits Edition retails for $39.99; Amazon also has it with free shipping.
Want to Win?
One winner will receive a copy of the game plus the microphone.  To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a product in order to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% mine and my family’s.

Dec 052011
 

2011 Holiday Gift Guide – Suggestions For the Kids
(Be sure to check out all the other great Gift Guide items and giveaways here.) 

If you were to ask anyone in my family if I have “Christmas spirit”, they would probably laugh at you.  Not because I don’t have any Christmas spirit, but because I have so much.  I love everything from the lights to the decorations to the songs to the movies to the feeling in the air.
So I know that my younger self would have loved the new Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town video game (available on the Nintendo DS or the Wii).  I know this because my older self thinks it’s pretty cute, too.
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town is inspired by the classic ABC claymation TV show of the same name.  The show tells the story of Kris Kringle and how he became Santa Claus; debuting in 1970, it’s one of the longest-running holiday specials of all time and is watched by millions each year.  The game lets you join in the fun as you join Kris Kringle and his friends as they escape the Burgemeister Meisterburger and bring toys to the children of Sombertown.
The game play (we tried the DS version) is simple and straight-forward.  It’s basically a platforming adventure game (run, jump, collect things) with a fun Christmas theme.  You get to collect snowflakes and deliver toys as you move through the storyline.  There are three main adventures to play and over 20 mini-games – everything from puzzles to mazes to coloring.
If you have kids, are a kid at heart, or have kids on your shopping list, I think this would make a nice purchase this year.  Both versions are under $20 which makes it nice, too.
Where to Buy:
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town is available on Nintendo DS ($19.99) and Nintendo Wii ($19.96) from Amazon and other retailers.
Want to Win?
One winner will receive a copy of Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town for the Nintendo DS!  To win, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  Reminder: Rafflecopter can sometimes take a moment to load; if you don’t see it after a minute, please try refreshing your browser.

ENTER HERE:

I received a copy of the game in order to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% mine and my family’s.

Dec 032011
 
2011 Holiday Gift Guide – Suggestions for Kids

(Be sure to check out all the other great Gift Guide items and giveaways here.)
It can sometimes be hard to find age-appropriate video games for the preteen set.  Many games kids consider too “babyish”, some are too complicated in the game play and many are too graphic.  The Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL is none of those things.
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL is a brawler video game with 26 playable characters from shows like Johnny Bravo, The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory and many more.  There are six play modes: story mode, battle mode, arcade mode, PTE mode, Fight the Drones mode and training mode; with both story mode and battle mode up too 4 players can play together (or against each other!).  You’ll also find 26 different battle arenas in which to play.  Cool items and characters can be unlocked in the PTE store using the coins you earn battling.

A2 tested out the game for us first.  He thought it was okay, but shared that he felt kids 8-14 would probably enjoy it most.  I also think that adults who enjoy some of the Cartoon Network TV shows would enjoy this game as a fun break from more “serious” games, too.  (I always enjoy a good Dexter’s Lab.)
The controls are very intuitive, especially for those familiar with the brawler genre.  All of the character each have four special moves, but this doesn’t make the game complicated.
Below is a screen grab of a battle scene with Johnny Bravo so you can have a feel for what the game play looks like.  As you can see it’s all fun, cartoon-y stuff, not blood and gore.

You can also check out the video below from the developers.

Where to Buy:
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL is rated E (Everyone age 10+) and in addition to the PS3 version ($39.99) it is available on the Xbox 360 ($39.99) and Nintendo Wii ($29.99).
Want to Win?

One winner will receive a copy of Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion XL for the PS3.  To enter fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  Reminder: Rafflecopter sometimes takes a moment to load; if you don’t see it after a minute, please try refreshing your browser.

ENTER HERE:

I received a copy of the game in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% mine and my family’s.