This review isn't brought to you by any letter in particular. Let's just collectively use each and every letter and assume that if you're reading this you have at least a Grade 6-equivalent education, because I'm not here to teach you the alphabet. I'll leave that to the ageless Sesame Street and the Kinect-exclusive 'Once Upon A Monster', a fascinatingly charming experience that is a true family treat, just in time for Christmas. This is a perfect game for babysitters, au pairs and parents looking to keep their preschoolers happy. While this game might be a little too much to grasp for toddlers, it's a perfect taste of adventure and movement for young-ins still breaking in their first pair of cross-trainers.
What Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster Got Right
Accessible controls for a young audience - Gameplay varies quite a bit in Once Upon a Monster, offering an ever-changing and engaging experience for younger gamers. Some mini-games require basic problem-solving skills, while others rely on movement and the following of directions on-screen. The game is designed for children and is thankfully very kid-friendly, rarely punishing for mistimed movements or other mistakes. Kinect tracks movements quite accurately, and the game is quite inviting for guardians to jump in and help out without compromising Kinect's ability to track movement.
Charming narrative and characters - The game is spread out across six chapters, each of which last for about an hour. You'll control Sesame Street favourites such as Elmo, Cookie Monster and Grover, as well as a handful of new monsters. The characters are insanely cute and funny, making for a highly entertaining visual treat for young gamers. Once Upon a Monster isn't really about educating children in maths or english, but rather to showcase the importance of friendship and other morally challenging issues one might face throughout their life. The game might be especially challenging for a young individual in that regard, but differently to how a typical episode of Sesame Street would be.
What Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster Got Wrong
Progressive elements dilute accessibility - You'll need to complete a chapter in order to move on to the next one, which adds a sense of progression that may frustrate young children and even guardians if they reach a roadblock. There are certainly some instances that seem as though they would be especially challenging for children, and this might cause frustration at an inability to move on. Thankfully, once all six chapters have been unlocked you can play any of them at will.
The Final Verdict
Charming, accessible and highly engaging, Once Upon A Monster is a surprisingly entertaining experience for young gamers and guardians looking to entertain their children. A perfect Christmas gift leading into the holiday season.
By Gaetano Prestia