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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Platformer

 

Publisher

Namco

 

Developer

Xpec

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

August 16, 2005

 

 

- If you have a young daughter, niece, granddaughter Hello Kitty is an accessible title for the beginner

- Big and bright graphics

- Kids aren't likely to get frustrated with its shortcomings

 

 

- Claustrophobic view of the action

- Can have an influence on kids

- Possibly too cute to stomach for adults

 

 

Review: Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg (GC)

Review: Sonic Heroes (GC)

Review: Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GC)

 

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Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue

Score: 7.8 / 10

 

Under normal circumstances I would review Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue by going overboard with Journalist Integrity – getting absolutely hammered (or until I was reading the title, “Hello, KITTY!”) – then recording my drunken observations with a Dictaphone, transcribe it, and have the review finished.  However, with three small children running around the house, this method wasn't feasible.  Instead I turned the game over to them (well, not the youngest – she’s just too young) not only because it would save me a fortune in alcohol but it would allow the game to be evaluated by the market it’s clearly aimed at.

 

hello kitty roller rescue review          hello kitty roller rescue review

 

What I can say about Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue is that Hello Kitty’s perky, brightly colored world is under attack by triangles, cylinders, and blocks from outer space.  It falls to her – and her animal friends and family – to send the invaders packing.

 

The Kids on Gameplay:

My six year-old son swears this is a fun game to play.  The attack combos are easy to do and launching an area attack “is cool to watch.”  The block invaders are a relatively weak force, which require only a few swipes of HK’s wand to kil— turn the block enemies into stars for collecting.  Roller Rescue also features a lot of jumping – mostly to collect coins – and it caused my three year-old daughter some consternation.  “Dad can you do this tricky part?” I get HK over the wall and instantly become a hero with my son admitting that I must be “a videogame expert.”  Neither of them have much luck against boss characters.  But that's okay because that's where I stepped in and showed my gaming skills.  And fortunately, the scope of the game is fairly narrow and short so if the cute factor gets to you, just know it's not for long.

 

Level Design:

According to my three year-old, the levels are “very beautiful” but from my standpoint as colorful and straightforward as the levels are, the camera is far too zoomed-in on the action, making the game feel claustrophobic and worse, confusing when building or other objects get in the way of the view.  The kids didn’t seem to mind it though.

 

Being unfamiliar with the Hello Kitty universe I can’t speak to how well the world conforms to the source material.

 

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Control:

Possibly the single most important factor for a kid’s game is control.  The game will likely be inaccessible to kids under five unless you spend a lot of time coaching them.  At HK’s house where you can change her outfits, save progress that has been made, re-watch cinematics, etc. and this is where my three year-old spent most of her time, which is maddening to watch because the camera remains stationary, dead-center in the middle of the room, which means you’ll watch younger players circle the room again and again.  At that point you want to 

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take control.  The controls are responsive but the camera is relatively sloppy so I would recommend that only kids seven years-old (or more) with a firm handle on 3D platformers play Roller Rescue without adult supervision.

 

Sound:

The kids were neutral on their opinions about the sound, so I’ll offer my own opinion.  It’s very close to all those Magical Princess Fairy shows that feature plenty of upbeat, cute tunes and super happy sound effects.

 

hello kitty roller rescue review          hello kitty roller rescue review

 

Influence:

There’s been a lot said and written on the subject of the influence of videogames on kids.  Besides my son wanting to be Sonic the Hedgehog when he grows up, I’ve never been a firm believer in the impact videogames can have on youth but my opinion changed after my three year-old daughter drew a picture of HK.

 

“What are all these spiky things?” I asked her.  It looked like HK was in the middle of a green pool with a bunch of sticks poking out of it.

 

“Those are the guns.”

 

A quick pause.  “What’s Hello Kitty sitting in?”

 

“A tank, silly!” she said, pointing out the obvious.

 

The first boss found in the game is a green tank with multiple laser-firing turrets on it, which can only be defeated by hurling its own time bombs back at him.  So, she’s well on her way to being one of those troubled gamers with a complete disconnect from reality…

 

Violent (cartoon) imagery aside, Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue is a fine game for kids that are just getting into games.  Maybe more importantly it’s targeted at little girls, a niche audience that needs more titles like this.  (While my six year-old son played his fair share of Roller Rescue for the review, he still preferred Lego Star Wars when given a choice of games.)

 

- Omni

(August 23, 2005)

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