The Bottom Line
- Giant joystick and floor pad make it fun for kids to interact with the games.
- Children can't play this game sitting on the couch.
- Kids like the familiar Playhouse Disney characters.
- Games are not particularly creative or compelling.
- Just a few game types are reiterated with different characters.
- The software needs some improvements to make it easier for kids to make selections.
- LeapFrog has just released Zippity, a game system with a floor mat and giant joystick.
- Kids jump, dance and stomp on the floor mat to control the games.
- It comes with eight games featuring Playhouse Disney characters.
- Zippity is $80.
- Ages 3-5
Guide Review - Zippity Review
The system is a mat with four colored ovals the kids can step, dance or jump on to operate the games. It also has a giant joystick (LeapFrog calls it the Bopper) that kids move forward, back and side to side to control the characters. It's nice that kids are moving and grooving while they play, instead of sitting on the couch.
I had high hopes for the system after seeing it at a preview event months before it was available, but the resulting product is disappointing, especially when you consider that it costs $80.
All of the games are based on a few simple gameplay templates. A side scroller features Winnie the Pooh on a scooter, then the same gameplay is duplicated with a submarine and the Little Einsteins characters.
One of the Handy Manny games is designed to teach color names in Spanish. I found it odd that players have to jump on the green section of the mat to select the pink nail to pound. It wasn't a problem for my 4-year-old son, which may say something about me being a creature of habit.
The system also instructed kids to select the game they want to play, which seems simple until you realize that 3 and 4-year-old kids can't read the text in the boxes. Once the box is highlighted, the voice says the name of the game, but they need some sort of visual indicator. Imagine if your computer's interface was in Chinese. It's the same conundrum for non-readers.
My son got the hang of it easily but tired of each of the games quickly. Some only lasted about 60 seconds. We did not test any of the additional games (available for $25 each.) I'm hopeful that that software is more robust and the game design is more creative than those bundled with the system.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.