Based on the popular kid's TV show, Fireman Sam is a collection of fifteen mini-games for the Nintendo DS. You'll find a mix of familiar games like jigsaws, spot the difference and pairs, as well as simple sudoku puzzles, a musical memory game and a lifeboat race too - there's a fair amount of variety to the games, and they're the sort children will play over and over and over again - assuming they can manage them.
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Each mini-game has a choice of three different difficulties, but sadly, the difficulty levels often make little difference to the games themselves, with the only noticeable change being the ability to make a few more mistakes before getting a game over. For example, while you'd expect the spot the difference game would give you more obvious differences on Easy compared to Hard, in fact, on both difficulties, you have to find the same differences - there's no-one missing an arm, and Elvis doesn't have green hair - instead you have Sam wearing a slightly longer shirt, the fridge being a slightly different shape and a marginally different jar on a shelf.
The game also relies heavily on text to explain what to do in each of the mini-games, so being a confident reader is a requirement, especially as some of the minigames are a bit ambiguous. The Dilys' Supermarket game gives you a shopping list of objects that you need to pick out from a bunch of pictures, which would be a perfectly decent game for those learning to read - but sadly, some of the objects it asks you to find are a little bit strange. A 'creek' is a car jack, 'buoy' is a life ring, and we're still not sure what it means by 'buzzer'. Children may struggle with this one - but with fifteen games on offer, there's bound to be plenty they can manage.
The jigsaws, sliding tiles, pairs and simple sudoku (which uses numbers 1 to 4 on easy) games are all pretty good, and the music-based memory game where you simply play back the sequence is likely to go down equally well. Ultimately, how much your child gets out of this game will depend on their age - they may not manage all the games to begin with, but as they get older, they should find more and more of them are in their grasp.
Being a game primarily designed for children and based around a popular kids' TV show, Fireman Sam is as squeaky clean as you'd expect a game coming from the hero next door. There's nothing untoward here, with no bad language, violence or gore present at all.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo DS