Natural selections: Games

Summer’s here and the forecast calls for products that will get children out in the garden, on their feet and in interactive mode on those long road trips.

LEGO PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: The Video Game

Why kids thrill to playing games that render their live-action heroes as stubby block figures is a mystery to this grown-up. But they do, and now Captain Jack Sparrow joins Harry Potter and Princess Leia in the Lego pantheon. Essentially this is a crash’n’bash game with sword fighting as the mainstay while players search for treasures through 20 levels. The game includes familiar scenes from the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, as well as action from the previous three films. A cool new feature is a split screen effect that allows characters to chase one another over larger areas of terrain than can be captured in a single screen shot. Available for Xbox 360, PlayStation3, Wii, Nintendo DS and PSP.  Find more info at lego.com.

PHINEAS AND FERB: Across the 2nd Dimension

Inspired by the eponymous TV movie, players can adopt Phineas, Ferb, Agent P, or any one of eight characters from the film, adapted from the wildly popular animed series. Players collect items, upgrade their gadgets and unlock new characters as they fight to save the world from the nefarious Dr. Doofenshmirtz and his henchmen. The game is recommended for kids six to 14 and features lots of goofy, bouncy fun in environments such as Platypus Day and Halloween. Available for Wii and PlayStation3. Launches in August.

JUST DANCE KIDS

Designed as a kid-friendly follow-up to the adult Just Dance series, this game for Wii is aimed at getting whole families off the couch and shakin’ it. The song list has been adapted to eliminate tunes that might contain inappropriate lyrics and to weed out some of the more suggestive dance moves. The music is a mix of familiar numbers from kids shows such as The Wiggles and Yo Gabba Gabba with harmless standards such as “Surfi n’ USA.” The vocal performances tend to be by kids rather than the original artists and live dancers are used, rather than the cartoon figures of previous editions.  Find more info at nintendo.com.

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