Reviewed on PC

Mystery of Veggie Island, A VeggieTales Game

                      Reviewed By: Tim Emmerich
     STAFF REVIEWER
GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Big Idea Interactive
Price Range: $19-$23
Learning curve time: 30 minutes
Age level: 3 and up
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Patches / Upgrades: none
System Requirements: PII, 450 MHz, 64 MB Ram, 200 MB harddrive space

Genre: Adventure
Christian Rating: 5 of 5
   (nothing offensive)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
   (good)
Violence: 5 of 5
   (none)
Adult Content: 5 of 5
   (none)

Rated 'Exceptional' by Shepherd Staff Shepherd's Staff rates "The Mystery of Veggie Island, A VeggieTales Game" as exceptional.

A Veggie-tastic Adventure in Helping One Another

What a beautiful opening cinematic! The cub sprout crew is rowing over to Veggie Island. Larry the Cucumber is at the stern, paddling away. Inside the canoe are Cub Sprouts Laura the Carrot, Junior the Asparagus, and Percy the pea. Rounding out the crew is Scout Master Bob the Tomato helping with navigation. They approach the small, but mountainous island. From an overhead view, the clouds clear and the canoe glides gently over the title of the game. As the water ripples away from the slicing of the canoe, the title is blurred perfectly. And the canoe lands smoothly on the beach.

Mystery of Veggie Island, A VeggieTales Game.  Illustration copyrighted.

Story
Salty Nezzer, the renowned pirate, used to live on this island a long time ago. Once sailing the ocean blue in his pirate ship, perhaps Salty gathered up tons of gold and jewels. At least that is what a descendant, Mr. Nezzer, is hoping for. He is frantically searching the island for any buried pirate treasure. And what an appropriate setting! An island with a beach, caves and even a waterfall. Plus, did you hear what sounds like a parrot?

Imagine how enchanting a Cub Sprout expedition to Veggie Island would be. A ride in the canoe just to get there. And then to set up camp with a great campfire (S'mores anyone?). And what an exotic place to explore. There are lots of learning opportunities for more merit badges. And adventures await those who dare to seek them out.

Various Adventures
Help squirrels store their acorns and you learning aiming skills. Click on Junior to load the acorn into his slingshot. Then move left or right with mouse to position yourself under or near a squirrel. Then click on Junior again to launch it. Do it well and you can get your aiming merit badge from Sproutmaster Bob the Tomato. You can adjust how far you pull back the slingshot and the acorn will fly faster. The normal string tension seemed to work fine. Get two acorns to a squirrel and get a special treat. However, three acorns seem to be more than they can handle.

If you want that climbing merit badge, you will have to learn how to climb (or a series of jumps? How does an armless Veggie actually climb?). There are the perfect trees for that on the island. On your way up, watch out for flying acorns. Disturbing the squirrels can have negative consequences as they toss acorns at you from the left or right. At the top, you will find Socrates the Parrot and he will reward you with a key. Once you get that climbing merit badge, there is a mountain ledge that you now can climb (just watch out for falling rocks and there are a few ledges that can't support your weight).

Another mini-game has Junior taking the challenge of rounding up some frogs so that Percy the Pea can identify them. You need to jump around on small lily pads to get the frogs to jump on a big lily pad. Get one of each type to win the game. The pea will reward you with a useful tool. I didn't know “Frog-herding” was a useful skill but I suppose it teaches perseverance at a hip-hoppy task.

For the fishing fans, you get a chance at a rod and reel. Turns out when your canoe went back out to the water, all the contents dumped out. So pick up that fishing pole and get busy. You can hook a hairbrush, ukulele, binoculars, and hats. There is even food like donuts and cheeseburgers, yum. The swimming ducks thinks so too as they munch them down when they reach them. Then there are items that I doubt were in your canoe to begin with … like the car tire! Fishing with Junior is simple and straight forward. Click on Junior, then pull the mouse downward to hoist the rod back, then click again to let it sail, making your cast. You hook things in the fishing line's path as your reel it back in automatically. [Be sure to get the ukulele, it allows you to access the Silly Campfire Songs, the secret bonus area!]

You can also help Mr. Nezzer with his garden. It turns out some rascally rabbits are having a field day munching on his lettuce. Help him by chasing the rabbits back into their hole. This is similar to the frog game except you can only move diagonal. The good news is there may be a nice reward for you, another piece of the map.

I won't mention all the mini-games and encounters. The goal is to explore, find a way off the island which will require you to find all of the treasure map pieces. Many of the areas will need to be explored and some of the mini-games will need to be defeated in order to gain access to the map piece. You have an entire island to explore water fall, pirate ships, caves, etc.

What a mix! You even have a musical floor puzzle like the old “Simon” game, lots of secret doors, and more traditional jigsaw-type puzzles.

Features
This game features Silly Campfire Song with Larry! Once you find Larry's Ukulele, you now have access to this secret bonus area. To access the area, just click on the Ukulele in your backpack. Throughout the game you'll find hidden silly songs. Keep looking, there are 10 possible ones. And they are NEW! I don't recall hearing any of them before on the VeggieTales videos. Click on items on each screen that you may not think is important. At the least, you may get a cute animation. Further, you may find another silly song! For hints on the ones you are missing, notice the icon grayed out on the Silly Song screen?

Parental Egg Timer is a great feature that limits the time your kids play the game. By setting a password, the parent then can set the maximum time each child is allowed to play per day. The child will receive a five minute warning prior to the time expiring. When time runs out, their game is saved and closed down.

The graphics are wonderful and look like they come straight out of the high-quality 3D-animated videos.

Also, the well thought-out Cub Sprouts including the handbook, merit badges, and more is a neat feature. You can print a certificate from the handbook.

If you are really in a bind, there are some on-line hints available at: http://www.bigidea.com/games/mvi/hints_warning.htm

Interface
Moving your mouse to the bottom of the screen will bring up the options. They are Junior's backpack, map, and a Tree that will take you to the main menu.

Junior's backpack will contain all the useful items you find like keys or rope. It also contains the Cub Sprout Official Handbook. Which quotes I John 3:18 ("Children, we must not only talk about loving others - we must really show it by our deeds"). Plus you can print a cub sprout pledge from the manual. The handbook also has a place for the three merit badges.

The map is a modern day map of Veggie Island. The interesting part is once you start finding pieces of the treasure map, it overlays right on this modern day map. Clicking on the old map will toggle between both views. It will be obvious what pieces of the treasure map are missing.

Will parents object?
I doubt that any parents will object to this fun adventure game. Plus it teaches the players that it is important to help others. Even if others have not always been helpful to you. One young player said: "It is my very favorite part when I get to free Mr. Nezzer out of the cage he gets into."

Summary
A truly great adventure game for children of ALL ages. Replay value is not as high for older players, but younger players tend to want to try it again. Consider purchasing this title for your library.


Year of Release—2002



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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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