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Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue Xbox

Published by Xplosiv
Developed by Xpec
Release Date: 9th September 2005
Price: £19.99

Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue, an introduction.

Over the last few months PC and console gaming has come under the microscope because of certain games being regarded as socially unacceptable. Whilst this is a topic that many would argue for and against, there's no doubt that more games are striving to become more adult in nature. The result of all this is that it's becoming increasingly difficult to pick games for younger children, especially younger girls. It's refreshing then to see Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue.

What's the game about?

Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue is very much in the same mould as games such as Sly Raccoon and Crash Bandicoot. You'll have to defeat enemies, solve the odd puzzle and defeat a handful of bosses. The evil Block-O is out to conquer the universe and has departed from his native Planet Cube in search of his next target. Of course his next target is Earth. Block-O misinterprets gift boxes, that are thrown away by earthlings (after taking their gifts out of them) as an attack on his own kind (he doesn't realise that the gift boxes are just boxes). Full of anger, Block-O dispatches his troops to invade Earth to take revenge. Thankfully Hello Kitty (on roller-skates) and her friends are here to save us.

What's good about the game?

Any child who likes Hello Kitty is going to really enjoy Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue. There are more than 20 of the Sanrio characters in the game (some will act as your companions on certain levels) including Hello Kitty, Keroppi, Purin, Monkichi, Kuririn and Badtz-Maru. Naturally you'll play as Hello Kitty and it's up to you to defeat Block-O and his army. A lot of developers think that creating a game for children means that they can get away with a substandard game. Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue however, is a polished game that will keep your child interested until the game is complete and every item is unlocked. The game offers 16 levels in all and they are all well thought out with the difficulty level gradually increasing with each level. Hello Kitty will have to hit the enemies with her weapons (don't worry there's nothing here that would offend even the most sensitive of parents or children), collect coins and hunt for keys amongst other things. The boss fights require common sense to win and most children will have no problems with them. Even when you've completed the game there's plenty of incentive to go back and unlock other characters and items.

What's not so good about the game?

There's actually very little to say here. With the game being 3D the camera requires you to control it, every once in a while, with the right analogue stick. This may prove to be a little awkward for really young gamers but older children should have no problem at all. Those children who are used to playing console games may find the game a little easy and I suppose it would have benefited from having a couple of difficulty levels but when you consider the game's target audience, the difficulty level in the game is probably about right. If you're a fan of the other Sanrio characters you might be disappointed by their all too brief appearances in the game. Badtz-Maru, for instance, only appears at the beginning of the game.

How does it look?

Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue looks just about as cute as possible. Each of the characters are nicely detailed and they are all instantly recognisable. The characters in the game are pleasingly large, always a plus for a child's game, and the characters animate quite well too. The game as a whole has a bright and cheery look about it (very much in the Sanrio style) that will appeal to younger children.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Many of the children's games that I've seen are not deaf gamer friendly. In an age when education standards have slipped more than a greased penguin on an iceberg, this is somewhat understandable as a lot of children can't be bothered to read and instead expect all information to be verbal. However, this leaves deaf children out in the cold. Mercifully the developers have taken the correct approach here and refrained from adding voices for the characters. All conversations are text only. The characters make cutesy noises but nothing that provides information. All other information is in text so there are no problems for younger deaf gamers. During fights words such as 'POW!' and 'Ouch' appear in speech balloons and if an impending missile attack is to be made by an enemy an icon is displayed to highlight this point. The only aspect of the game that is unsuitable for deaf gamers is the unlockable music but this isn't really a problem.

Final thoughts.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say and it's all well and good for me to comment on what makes a good children's game but I'm not a child. This is one review where my three daughters did most of the work. My daughters (aged 7, 9 and 10) were eager to play the game and I was surprised to see how well they got on with the game. My two eldest daughters finished the game in around 6 hours. They did not unlock every item but simply played through the game's 16 levels to complete the story. My youngest daughter hasn't finished the game at the time of writing but is about half way through after playing for a similar amount of time. All were impressed with the game and I have to say, after playing the game myself, it is a game whose target audience (and older Hello Kitty fans) will be impressed with. It may be a little short for those children who are used to playing console games though.


Overall Game Rating: 8.4/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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It's great to see a game for younger gamers that plays so well. Hello Kitty: Roller Rescue is a must for all those children that are fans of Hello Kitty or the Sanrio characters in general.