Care Bears were treasured by little kids in the 1980s. Now that those fans have grown and had kids of their own, the bears are hoping to charm a new generation. THQ’s ValuSoft division and American Greetings have teamed up for a collection of games called Care Bears Catch a Star.
If you somehow missed this craze, Care Bears are stuffed teddy bears. Each of them comes in a different color and with a different design on its white tummy. Love-A-Lot Bear, for example, is pink and has pink hearts. Good Luck Bear is green with a four leaf clover. They’re adorable and sweet—enough to make me gag a little. But then again, I was always more into G.I. Joe.
Catch a Star combines eight mini games, which run the gamut from simple shape matching to memory tests. Love-a-Lot Bear’s Wish Sender, for example, has players match envelopes to shapes on a conveyor belt. Wish Bear’s Star Buddy Rainbow Notes game, on the other hand, asks players to remember the sequence of notes played by the Star Buddies (cute little stars set in a rainbow).
The games aren’t taxing. And the developer has made no effort beef them up with educational content—these are intended as simple diversions for kids ages four to seven. However, I wish the game aimed higher. While the eight individual games are interesting enough, there’s no sense of cohesion—no common goal to work toward and no reward system for completing a task beyond the affirmation of a job well done. Also, the game lacks offline content, such as coloring pages, that kids can use away from the computer. My own kids love it when the games they play reward them with craft-oriented projects.
System requirements are extremely mild. You’ll need a 300MHz G3 or faster and Mac OS 9 or OS X. This makes it well suited for older iMacs that are now in circulation in the kids’ room.
The game’s music is very low-key and calming, and its graphics, while unexceptional, fit the mood of the game. Although the game is rated for everyone, I expect that anyone older than seven will likely be bored.
The Bottom Line
Care Bears Catch a Star is a perfunctory kids’ game collection based on a popular children’s toy. The games are innocuous fun for small kids, but that’s about it.