Review: Learning with the PooYoos - Episode 3 (WiiWare)

You can never have too many PooYoos!

Because two episodes of Learning with the PooYoos just weren't enough, Lexis Numerique has finally released the highly anticipated third entry in the series. Retaining all of its colourful and engaging charm, Learning with the Pooyoos: Episode 3 is a welcome addition to the series. Though the fan base consists mostly of children between the ages of three and six, they will nonetheless not be disappointed.

The first thing that needs to be said about any games in the Learning with the PooYoos series is that they are visually and aurally stunning. Everything is bright, vibrant and cheerful, and the use of cel-shading makes the colours pop out even more. The audio tracks are cute and catchy, and the narrator's voice is not in the least bit harsh or grating. The programmers here went way over the top to make a game in which any young child can find some appeal.

This game consists of two short campaigns with two difficulty settings each. The first difficulty setting, which is geared to the youngest of young players, is called Little PooYoo, while the second is called Big PooYoo. As you will realise quickly, the difference between the two is not really that significant but may offer just enough variety to keep young players entertained. There are three stages in both of the campaigns: the Mini-game stage, the Dance stage, and the Present stage. The first is the only part that is actually made up of teaching games that require interaction from the player. The Dance stage basically just shows the PooYoo characters dancing on screen and encourages the player to dance or sing along with them. Finally, the Present stage is just Wii Remote waving and button pressing to either make things appear or change on screen. There is little to no depth in the last two stages, and there is also an unfortunate lack of variety, though young players will still be entertained.

The theme of the first campaign is Magic, and is hosted by a panda PooYoo. The first stage is a hide-and-seek mini-game in which the panda hides behind clouds while you use the Wii Remote as a flashlight to find him. On the Little PooYoo difficulty setting, your flashlight range is large and you simply have to locate the Panda with your cursor. On the Big PooYoo difficulty setting, your range is much smaller and you must press the A button when you have your cursor set on the Panda.

The theme of the second campaign is Colour and is hosted by a pig PooYoo. The first stage is a colour memorisation game that has players remember where certain coloured PooYoos go. On the Little PooYoo difficulty, two PooYoos of different colour walk out and fall into separate holes. The player is then asked the locate one of the PooYoos depending on which colour is shown on screen. On the Big PooYoo difficulty, four different PooYoos walk out and fall into holes, two of which you need to then locate.

The entire game is single player and controlled with just the Wii Remote. Though the mini-games do not allow for more than one person to play at a time, the Dance and Present stages welcome the engagement of multiple players. The controls are incredibly simple for younger players. In some parts, you use the Remote as a pointer, but in most of the game you simply press random buttons and wave the Remote madly around to make confetti fly and have different effects show up on screen.

The biggest concern with this game is that it is not as educational as the title would suggest. In fact, the only seemingly educational part would be the colour memorisation mini-game that you get when playing with the pig character. Replace the word “Learning” in the title with “Playing,” and everything seems to make more sense. This is actually more of an issue with semantics than anything else. Just because the game is not very educational does not make it any less valid as good children's entertainment.

Determining the fun factor or amount of replayability for a game that is targeted at an very young audience is a difficult thing to do. While the game is incredibly cute and reminiscent of children's television programming, that does not necessarily mean that every kid is going to have a good time playing it again and again. Playing through a campaign only takes about 15 minutes, so consider whether or not the person you are buying this for will get a lot of use out of it before spending the 500 points on it.

Conclusion

This game follows the exact same formula as the first two in the series. It has both the same strengths and weaknesses as the other games, but simply changes the faces of the PooYoos and the games that they play. If you have young kids who are easily and endlessly entertained by bright colours, cute animations, and cheerful songs, however, then Learning with the PooYoos: Episode 3 will make a great addition to your WiiWare collection.