"Video games for the younger generation. That’s what the world needs more of. Games like this one here. Games like Miss Spider’s Tea Party. Educational games that teach youngsters a few bits of basic education, yet providing some wholesome fun while doing it. Okay, so they might be a little educational and beneficial to little kids. But how is it as a video game? You know, how’s its “wholesome fun” part? Well . . . . . . "
Video games for the younger generation. That’s what the world needs more of. Games like this one here. Games like Miss Spider’s Tea Party. Educational games that teach youngsters a few bits of basic education, yet providing some wholesome fun while doing it. Okay, so they might be a little educational and beneficial to little kids. But how is it as a video game? You know, how’s its “wholesome fun” part? Well . . . . . .
Here’s the entire plot of the game: (SPOILERS, I guess,) Miss Spider is planning a tea party, and she wants all of her insect friends to come to her bash. But she hasn’t sent out any of the invitations yet. When she invites each friend of hers, they give an excuse as why they can’t come at the moment. Your job is to help her friends so they can come to the party. Whoa. I feel the excitement rushing through my veins as I’m typing this.
There are eight different friends that you must help throughout the game. These include the Beetle, Grampy Spider, the Fireflies, the Butterflies, the Moth and the Caterpillar, the Crickets, the Bees, and the Ant. So this means that there are eight different tasks you must complete. There’s no particular order that you have to follow, so you’re free to choose anyone you want to invite first.
The Beetles are a classic rock n’ roll band that revolutionized – oh wait, we’re not talking about those beetles. Well, the Beetles in this game are not anywhere as great as those musical legends. The task that these guys have you do is get them across a river, Frogger-style. You have to hop on moving objects that are drifting down the stream to get across. Wait. Can’t beetles fly? Weird. But imagine the first level of Frogger. That’s what this is like. (And if you can’t, then you need to go brush up on your classic video games, foo’!)
Ah. It’s time to relax with Grampy Spider. Whether he’s related to Miss Spider is yet to be determined. Those blasted paternity tests take forever to receive! Oops. Sorry, I forgot this was a children’s game. Anyhow, Grampy’s dilemma is that he’s too busy to attend the big bash because he has to reorganize his picture album. And you all thought you had too much to do. We have to help him out by matching the captions with the pictures. For example, the caption will say, “Two Red Butterflies,” and then you’re given three different pictures of various insects. You better pick the right picture, you heartless rapscallion. Win this game, and you’ll win a handsome prize! Show them what they’ll win, Pat!
Okay, you won’t win anything at all. But you will be one step closer to completing the game! And that’s what everyone wants, right?
So who’s next on the list? Hey, it’s the Fireflies! And you want to know their excuse for not coming to the party? They say they can’t come to the party unless they find their exact match. You guessed it. It’s a matching game. Just like those classic “Memory” games. Sixteen cards are set up on 4x4 grid, each of them placed facedown. On the front side of each is a picture of multi-colored firefly. You pick two cards at a time, trying to get matches. Find all eight pairs of fireflies, and you’re done! Hooray!
Next up are those pesky butterflies. They’re too shy to come alone, so you’ll have to find a whole gang of them. And they’re not going to be so easily found. It’s a game of typical “Hide-and-Seek.” Find the camouflaged butterflies in a wild array of flowers and trees. Can you say headache? Playing this game is a real strain on your eyes. Maybe this was the intent the developers had. To damage the vision of young children, so they can profit from their Lenscrafters stock. Those cynical developers. And they probably thought they could get away with it too. What has the world become?
We’re halfway there. Mrs. Moth and Mr. Caterpillar are next in line. This is pretty much a simple racing game where you have to dodge various obstacles in the path. You’re not really racing anyone, but you have to make it down the hill in the allotted amount of time. You have to do this twice too, both for Mrs. Moth and Mr. Caterpillar. This game is by far the easiest, but also the least educational. Coincidence? Maybe. Oh, and I don’t know what’s the deal between those two either, so don’t ask me. And personally, I don’t want to know.
Why if it isn’t the Crickets! These guys really know how to liven up the party, so you HAVE to get them there! (Well, you technically have to get everyone there, but especially these guys!) The task they have you do is match various sounds to their instruments. Sounds vary from triangles to bass drums, from clarinets to cellos. I’m not really sure how kids are supposed to know these things, unless you’re some kind of kid genius. In that case, you should be playing more advanced video games, like Virtual Harvard or Who Wants To Be The President Of Papua New Guinea? Win this game and you’ll receive a 2% discount at you local gas station! (See local gas station for more details. And by the way, I’m kidding. There is no 2% discount. I apologize for any inconvenience. Just don’t sue me!)
You also have to invite some bees to the party. Why anyone would want buzzing, stinging bees at their party is beyond me. But you’re forced to, so there’s no getting past it. This game can be a little tough, even for older gamers. You’re shown a picture of a flower for about five seconds, and then the image disappears. Then you have to choose that exact flower you just saw from a lineup of three flowers. It sounds easy, but it really isn’t. You have to pay attention to the smallest details on the flower, such as the number and location of leaves, the number of thorns, and the shape of the stem. But you still have a one-in-three chance of being right, so don’t be scared. It’s only a game buddy. Games can’t hurt you. But then again, you’ve never played JUMANJI!!!
Last, and certainly least, is the lone green ant. In this little event, you need to guide the ant through some giant underground maze. The maze itself is fairly easy. The problem is that the camera angle is too far zoomed in on the ant, and you really can’t plan your route. Add to this the dumb remarks that the ant makes while roaming through the maze, and you’re in for a little bit of pain. You’ll cringe when you hear, ”Miss Spider will be so disappointed if I am late!” over and over again. Either that, or you’ll go deaf. Both ways, it’s a lose-lose situation.
Finally, you’re done. Congratulations. You have just beaten a game intended for five-year olds. Upon beating the game, you’ll be rewarded with a ten-second movie of the party. Enjoy it while it lasts. No seriously, enjoy it.
But those thousand words only describe the game’s content. What about the game’s other departments? Well, The graphics are pretty nice. Upon meeting with each insect, you’re greeted with a short CG movie. Although these movies may be a little blurry, they’re good enough for an educational game. All of the other graphics are bright, colorful, and just plain nice, (except for that wretched Butterfly game. Ouch!)
The game’s audio is just as good. The music is cheerful, light, and childish. What else would you expect? An added plus is the well-done voice acting of each of the characters. I didn’t expect them to be so good, but I was definitely surprised. And the sound effects are exceptional as well. Those clicks and beeps are just outstanding!
But what about the longevity of the game? Well, this game lasts as long as an M&M lasts in your mouth. After you complete the game once, there is absolutely no point in ever playing it again. There are three different difficulties, but all of them can be beaten in less than 45 minutes. So after completing the game, just simply sell it. The game is past the point of a “use it as a coaster” joke. Seriously.
Well, that about wraps it up. Miss Spider’s Tea Party is obviously a game intended for children way younger than you. But if you need to brush up on your short-term memory skills, or you just want to seriously kill a little time, you might want to check this game out. It’s better than you think.
Community review by cdbavg400 (November 14, 2004)
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