Reviewed by David Savage
SmartGames have turned two children’s fairytales (Little Red Riding Hood and Three Little Piggies) into puzzle games for children aged 3 years +. For review, I received Little Red Riding Hood (suitable for 4-7 years) and I was going to be trying it with 4 year old twins.
SmartGames Little Red Riding Hood is a game for 1 player, has 48 challenges (from Starter to Master) and each challenge only has 1 solution.
In the box there is; 1x Playing Board, 5x Puzzle Pieces with Roads, 2x Figures (Little Red Riding Hood and a Wolf), 3x Trees, 1x House, 1x Challenge Booklet, 1x Picture Book and 1x Game Rules.
The idea of the puzzle is to get Little Red Riding Hood on the path to the house. There are 2 ways to play, with or without the Wolf (if playing with the wolf you need to create 2 paths to get both into the house). There are 24 challenges for just Little Red Riding Hood and another 24 if playing with the wolf as well (a total of 48 challenges; Starter, Junior, Expert and Master).
To start, pick a challenge from the book and lay out the trees, house and figure(s) as per the picture (you may have to lay out the board for younger children). You then have to use the puzzle pieces to create a path to the door of Grandma’s house (one for Little Red and another for the Wolf – if you are playing with both figures). It sounds easy but some are quite complicated requiring thinking, observation and logic skills. If you get stuck the solutions are on the back of the challenge page you are trying to do. Depending on the puzzle you may or may not have to use all the pieces to complete the puzzle.
Overall, once I read through the game rules to see exactly what was required and trying it for myself I realised how this small puzzle game has lots of educational value. Each challenge one has 1 solution and this requires to look, concentrate, analyse work out where your road pieces go. It helps develop cognitive skills – spatial insight, planning, problem solving, concentration and visual perception.
I was using it with 4 year old twins and one just like to play with the pieces and building the roads without quite understanding he has to create a flowing path to the house, while the other one seems to have grasped the concept straight away and has already been working on some of the master levels (he does love his puzzles and figuring out things, he even does his jigsaws with the picture face down when he gets bored of doing them with the picture face up).
I must admit that when I opened it I wasn’t that impressed, but after trying it for myself and watching the boys trying to figure it out I realised just how smart a game it is and extremely educational.
This is a very impressive educational puzzle game that will challenge children’s minds and let them have fun while doing so. It has a retail price of £19.99, which at first glance may seem a bit on the expensive side but once you realise the educational benefits and getting children thinking and problem solving it is well worth the price tag.
For more information or to buy visit www.smartgames.eu.