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Charlie the Church Mouse Super Pack

 

 

SCORE: 90

 

Charlie the Church Mouse Super Pack 

 

LB Games has compiled three Charlie Church Mouse games into one affordable package for your home PC. Charlie will help your kids with their early learning skills all while teaching them Biblical truth through clever interactive games. Once again LB Games has surprised me by the overall quality of this Christian game package and the way it is brilliantly presented to get kids engaged in learning.

Your first reaction to the graphics in the Charlie Church Mouse games will not likely be one of sheer awe and wonder. In fact the graphics look like they could have come from a previous decade. Now that being said, the graphics are still decent enough that your children will greatly enjoy these games and will definitely get a kick out of Charlie and the Biblical figures that make cameo appearances throughout the game. Each game begins with the depiction of a Bible story through animation to set the stage. The animators have taken some artistic liberties in their interpretations, but the core elements are solidly grounded in the Bible. I equate it to the story telling style of Veggie Tales (minus the vegetables). The way each story is presented will draw your child in and make them laugh while still teaching them the truth within. The games are filled with enough bright colors to stun a My Little Pony, and though the graphics may be a bit dated, they accomplish their purpose wonderfully.

One of my favorite aspects of the audio found within Charlie Church Mouse Super Pack was the quality of Charlie’s voice. He’s a real character that your child can get attached to as they play along with him through these games.

The voice isn’t cheesy (no pun intended) and has a distinct cartoonish sound to it. Charlie is very encouraging to your child as he or she progresses through the game and never criticizes negatively. Charlie also has a sense of humor that may even make the grown-ups chuckle a time or two. As the Bible scenes play out before each game, the narrator explains the story in easy to understand terms. It’s like having a Sunday school teacher in your home reinforcing the stories and parables you’ve undoubtedly told your children. After each game Charlie will follow up and explain the moral of the story, and then ask your child a question that helps them put the lesson in perspective in their own life. There’s also plenty of music to be found within Charlie Church Mouse. There’s a decent variety and the quality’s fairly good too, though at times I did find the repetitiveness of certain tracks to be a tad on the annoying side. Some of the sound effects can be quite irritating as well, but fortunately there are more good ones than bad. The biggest audio blemish I found was the all too frequent stuttering and skipping of the sound in the game. This most frequently occurred while Charlie was speaking and gave the game a “low budget” feel.

The great thing about this “Super Pack” is that it contains a total of three individual game packages which equates to 18 different games in all. This will give parents games appropriate for kids ages 2-8. The games are divided into Preschool, Kindergarten, and Early Elementary (6 games per grade level). Within each grade level you can choose from different difficulty levels. Preschool and Kindergarten have difficulty levels of 1-2 while Early Elementary offers 1-3. This is ideal because, of course, each child is different and this game lends itself to adapting to their current skill level. As your child begins to find a certain game too easy, you can bump up the difficulty and then eventually progress into the next grade level. Selling for about $20 and considering that you get three games in one, this package is a great value in my opinion.

The gameplay in Charlie Church Mouse Super Pack obviously varies depending on which of the 18 individual games you’re playing. The creators of this game truly understand kids. I absolutely love the way these games approach the Bible stories used. They don’t go for the obvious, but instead choose to make games out of the more obscure aspects of a story creating a unique experience that will draw your kids in. Some of my favorite examples are the stories of Queen Esther, David and Goliath, and the Prodigal Son. These are stories I’ve heard and read countless times, but the way they were presented made them fresh for me. In the story of Esther, the narrator explains Haman’s plot and the details leading up to Queen Esther preparing a banquet for the King with hopes of persuading him to change his mind over the destruction of her people. How can you make this tense story into a kid’s game you ask? By having your child help Esther prepare a desert for the King of course! To begin, players choose the type of desert they want to make (gingerbread man, a cake, etc). Players must then locate the items listed on their recipe card by looking in the kitchen cupboards, drawers, and refrigerator (I told you there were some artistic liberties). After locating these items, they must count out the correct quantities of each ingredient as directed by Charlie. After they’ve successfully prepared the desert, players can then decorate it with a wide variety of kid-approved toppings. The story will then resume with Esther bringing the freshly prepared desert to the King as she makes her request. The story then concludes with a kid friendly version of how her people are saved. To me this was a brilliant way to bring children into an otherwise dull and grim story and make them a part of the process. This technique is repeated in virtually all of the 18 games. David performs some target practice with his sling by targeting signs containing the correct answer to a math question before eventually facing Goliath. The Prodigal Son feeds pigs by filling the appropriate trough corresponding to a fill-in-the-blank spelling card. This list goes on and on, but each game takes a small part of the overall story and turns it into a fun activity for your child. While the gameplay is outstanding, there were a couple minor problems that I feel need mentioning. You cannot navigate the game menus while Charlie is speaking (giving directions). This is frustrating if you know what to do and just want to get on with the game. Also, the scoring in the games seems arbitrary and pointless. There appears to be no real consistency and scoring in these games isn’t much of a motivator. Perhaps the biggest annoyance for me occurred during installation. Firstly, the “auto-run” feature did not start automatically forcing me to browse to it and run it manually. Okay, no big deal. Secondly, all three games took several minutes to even present the installer screen with no sign that anything whatsoever was happening. Once the installer finally appeared, the installation went smoothly. I tested this on a Windows 7 system as well as an older XP system and found that it only occurs with Windows 7. Just a word of warning for you installing on modern systems, you’ll need the patience of a saint to endure the processes of installation.

This is one of the most family friendly games I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. This is a great tool to help your kids learn Biblical truth as well as build their early learning skills. Playing these games together as a family can be a blast. My kids have already gotten so much enjoyment out of Charlie Church Mouse and I am certain they will continue to do so as they get older. If you have kids between the ages of 2 and 8, I highly recommend that you add the Charlie Church Mouse Super Pack to your game library. Aside from the obvious Christian teachings in the game, the educational value is fantastic as well.
-Roger

 

Graphics: 89%
Sound: 90%
Replay/Extras: 88%
Gameplay: 85%
Family Friendly Factor: 100%
System: Personal Computer
Publisher: LB Games
ESRB Rating: 'E' for Everyone
{Mild Cartoon Violence}

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Roger@familyfriendlygaming.com