Strawberry Shortcake: Strawberryland Games


posted 12/18/2006 by Sean Colleli
other articles by Sean Colleli
One Page Platforms: DS
I’d like to be able to critique the game’s audio aspect, but there is so little that I have a hard time giving an honest appraisal. Strawberry Shortcake’s audio is practically nonexistent. The stock sound effects work well in their assigned places, but there are just so few of them and they repeat far too much. Music is barely represented, with a few tiny jingles but nothing else. The games are silent save for a few sound effects. Where are the bubbly beats and cheerful tunes to set the mood for the minigames? The games themselves are already kind of flat, and some catchy music would have given them at least a little more staying power.
This glaring lack of audio creates a new problem for the game’s main audience: young kids. Audio cues are needed to let children know when to take certain actions, because a lot of the kids playing this game won’t know how to read. Instead, there are multiple-paragraph instructions for each game. The games are easy enough to figure out without reading the instructions, but kids will still be using trial and error the first couple of times to figure out what to do, and this frustration might lead them to find their entertainment elsewhere.
Finally, there is the multiplayer, if you can call it that. It includes only one game, Berry Boarding, and required two game cards to play, for only two players at a time. Considering the simple nature of most of the games, I doubt that download play would have been much of a stretch for the developers. And with so little gameplay in the minigames already, why was the multiplayer limited to a single game? Most of the games are races anyway, and would have worked well in multiplayer mode.
I wanted to give Game Factory credit for making a game for a younger audience, but Strawberry Shortcake: Strawberryland Games probably won’t appeal to the people they’re aiming for. The minigames are easy to play and understand, but excessively so—instead of finding engaging entertainment, kids will become bored with the repetitive, flat tasks. The production values also instill a sense of boredom, with flat visuals and an almost complete lack of sound and music. The amount of reading in this game will also be a turn-off to the pre-school crowd. As it stands, the sweet scent of the manual will stay fresh much longer than this game.

Strawberryland Games might keep young kids occupied for a few minutes, but there isn't enough gameplay to really last them for long. The large amounts of reading and lack of flashy sounds and graphics will also frustrate youngsters. It's best for a rent, or a short car trip.

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