Little Charlie Bear Toy Box Fun – Review

A review of Little Charlie Bear Toy Box Fun I wrote for the website www.square-go.com

When the Nintendo DS was released it had a big impact, one of these being the opening up of games from what was becoming an insular market place to everyone again. The downside to this was and is the shovel ware type of games, games with a recognisable name attached with little effort put into it pushed onto shelves in an attempt to make a quick buck.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Little Charlie Bear.

That name might fly under the radar for most people but for a certain demographic (read: parents with small children) the name should jump out at you as the eponymous has a show on the CBeebies channel. He also now has a video game which is essentially a collection of mini-games. Yes, this means that this game is one for the younger end of the market.

On this basis, you can’t really judge Charlie Bear too harshly. It’s difficult to apply the same scale to this as you would to something like, oh let’s say a top tier Nintendo game. But if you were going to so that, just for arguments sake, then you’d be pointing out the general rushed air around the game. It looks ropey at best with basic looking graphics with basic animation only just above something you’d find on a V-Tech machine. It looks like what it is, a quick cash in with the minimum effort needed to get it out the door and onto shelves.

But again, that’s viewing with the eye of a hardened video game reviewer. For its audience, this will not likely be one of if not the first video games they will play so the question is: is it fun?

Well, probably. The mini games all centre around Charlie Bear’s make believe adventures and generally boil down to matching things or simple action games. All very basic, all very simple, all very easy for a small child to pick up.

So, as this is a review, is Little Charlie Bear a game that you should buy? This is a very difficult question to answer. As a game it barely holds together but does that matter to a small child who idolises Charlie Bear? Would the lack of any real incentive to play the game once you’ve gone through them bother somebody for whom this was their first Nintendo DS game?

Probably not.

Does buying Little Charlie Bear make you a bad person who is helping to destroy ‘proper’ video games? Of course not, this game has a place on the shelf as much as anything else. Is it a game that deserves to be bought? Arguably not, but then if this is something that will make the year for a blood relative? It’s difficult to say that you shouldn’t buy it. This game is, in a sense, score-proof because if someone you love loves Little Charlie Bear and wants this game then you are buying it even if you don’t want to.

Two stars out of five

Originally published January 12th 2013

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