Thanks to Skunk Software for the review code
Title: Now I know my ABCS
System: Wii U eShop
Release date: 03/31/2016
The main game/story
This game has no story to speak of, being an educational game. Educational games aren’t always bad though, since some of my favorite games growing up were titles such as Schoolhouse Rock: Math Rock among other computer games, so the potential for a fun game for learners is there. Unfortunately, there’s barely any gameplay to be had in this game, and outside of it’s promise of teaching you the ABCs, not much to talk about at all.
The second the game starts up, you get a big cluttered screen with the entire alphabet on it. Upon choosing a letter of your choose, you are sent into the main game, where a line paper background greets you, combined with objects that start with the respective letter you chose. Nearly all of these objects seem to be stock images from clip art sites, which makes the presentation feel rather cheap.
Music and Sound
The sound is even worse. During your session, you’ll pretty much be trapped listening to an incredibly irritating track that loops non-stop, and considering how long the game makes you wait during each letter, it gets really, really old rather fast. The only way you may find to past the time before you’re allowed to follow the actions of the computer is to tap the corresponding object in the top right corner of the screen. It’s all up to you on whether you want to make the narrator repeat his lines over and over again, or listen to the equally-as-annoying music.
Most educational titles have some sort of gameplay, or at least a way to guide the player along with whatever they are learning. Somehow, Now I Know my ABCs has none of those redeeming qualities. Literally all you do in the game is touch a letter of your choosing, watch the computer slowly draw the letter, and then try it for yourself. There’s even an A-Z option if you want to listen to the entire alphabet which will take all of 10 minutes for you to do. So, you may be thinking, “Well, wouldn’t it be great for young children to practice their letters?” And you’d be right, but for some baffling reason, You can’t even draw in this game. All you do when “practicing” the letters is tap dots in the correct order to form the letter. That’s it, and you can’t even draw it on your own since it’s locked to a set order with no way to draw by freehand or anything of the sort. Don’t even get me started on having to wait an eternity for the computer to slowly draw the letter O twice when nearly any kid learning their alphabet will get the idea and want to practice for themselves, but they can’t as they have to wait for the slow CPU to finish with no way to skip it that I could find. Once you “practice” each letter of the alphabet, that’s all there is to see in this game, as there’s really no point in going back to any of the letters once you go through them once, and not even an option to just doodle around and draw letters on your own, which is baffling considering how the tablet controller seems like a no-brainer for allowing you to draw and practice the letters with handwriting at your own pace.
In conclusion, Now I know my ABCs is a horrible attempt to teach children how to practice their ABCs. When you can’t even draw the letters and have to wait for an incredibly slow computer to finish connecting dots, it’s hard to even classify this as a teaching tool. Educational games aren’t always in-depth experiences or even meant to be playable at all, I get that, but the rule of thumb is to at least offer a way to have your child engage in the activity and practice for themselves. When this application won’t allow you to do anything more than tap on objects over and over while you wait for the slow as molasses CPU to shut up, only to connect the dots instead of actually handwriting your letters, Now I Know My ABCs isn’t going to have anyone learn their ABCs. For an application where you can easily see everything there is to see in 12 minutes, the $2.49 price tag is nothing more than a rip-off, and I can’t recommend this game to anyone at all. For those hoping to teach their children the alphabet, just pick up one of those old Schoolhouse Rock PC games instead. It’ll be a more interactive experience for your children and it’ll be fun for you to join in as well! Or for the totally free option, you can teach your children how to draw with pencil and paper, like the majority of the planet has done for years.
I give Now I Know My ABCs a 1 out of 10, and I absolutely cannot recommend this application to anyone, not as an educational tool nor as a practice tool. Stay far away from this one, even if it goes down in price.