Introducing young children to gaming can be a much trickier task than it initially may seem. Not necessarily because they don’t want to play video games, of course. It’s more the case that console gaming can tend to be too tricky for the younger generation by default. Luckily, Nintendo has done a grand job at getting the little ones involved by implementing assist features in titles such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Mario Odyssey. Watching my four year old gain confidence as she slowly hones in on her motor skills around the sandy landscapes of Tostarena sure makes a Dad gamer proud. So, when I got wind of an educational children’s game dropping on the Nintendo Switch I jumped at the chance to see if it may be of interest to her. Result! It was! Well… for about five minutes anyway.
It’s Spring Again aims to teach young children about the four seasons and the effect that they have on the ecosystem. The game, if you can call it that, set me up to look like a big silly billy as I tried every button on the Joy-Con several times when trying to start the blooming thing. I even detached them from the Joy-Con Grip to give them a waggle and wave, which, to no surprise, didn’t work. My daughter was already beginning to get restless at this point and advised me to send it back because it was broken. It wasn’t, of course, it just doesn’t inform you that it’s a touch screen-only game, which, in hindsight, does make sense.
Once I had solved that brain-wrecking conundrum with the power of sheer intelligence and common sense, I handed over the screen to my daughter and let her go wild. She seemed to enjoy knocking the fruit out of the trees in Summer and browning the leaves in Autumn as she tapped away at the screen with her sticky, chocolate-covered fingers. The female narrator who guides the young player drops basic knowledge on the cause and effect of how each season works. The problem is, once Winter ends, so does the game and there really is nothing else left to do besides let the whole thing run its course again.
It wasn’t a joke when I said that it entertained my daughter for only five minutes, because the game literally takes that long to see and do absolutely everything there is to offer. At least the art style is nice enough with its storybook charm and pastel colours. I’ve got to admit though, the glaring eyes of the land and sun did freak me out quite a bit. The sound to accompany the art is just as reclined as its visuals with a soothing lullaby chime. Although, if anything, this just made those dead eyes staring back at me look even more sinister as a result. So, yeah… that’s pretty much it really. Tap the sun to do stuff, game ends, off you pop.
To put it mildly, It’s Spring Again is a complete waste of time. It doesn’t do anything new or different to teach children any better than what a good walk in the park or a picture book can provide. In fact, you’re better off with CBeebies or a few videos on YouTube Kids if you want your children to learn something but can’t be bothered teaching them yourself. Yes, I know, it’s aimed at two year olds as the recommended age group, complete with an added auto run feature to cater for that fact. However, in all honesty, I would rather they dribble all over a £50 Amazon Kindle Fire HD rather than pay a pointless 79p download on a £280 gaming console.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Sometimes You