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Nintendo DS Review: Build-a-Bear Workshop – Welcome to Hugsville

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The more a player uses Welcome to Hugsville, the more s/he will be able to do. Like most multilevel games, as players complete levels, higher levels are unlocked. There are a number of mini-games included, none of which takes much time, cutting way back on the frustration factor.

When a player starts Welcome to Hugsville, the first task is to build a character (not necessarily a bear). Hugsville is a town very much like Animal Crossing, with similar navigation, for a very young audience.  It is recommended for ages six and up, but it can be played by younger children (depending on the child). There are thirteen different plush animals from which to choose, and the one chosen is the user’s avatar.

After the avatar is selected, a heart is rubbed and inserted in the animal, and the animal is named. Once the avatar is set up, it’s time to build a house. Building in Hugsville consists of picking items, choosing colors, hammering, and using a screwdriver. After the house is built, it’s game time.

A child could play Welcome to Hugsville without engaging in the games, but the games are the key to unlocking more features. Among the eight mini-games, there are a maze, a race, and a pop-up game. There are time-based arcade, construction and landscaping simulation, and quest games.

Players may also dig up and plant flowers and trees, and collect items to unlock rewards. As rewards are collected, the player has added opportunities to build and assemble. Play is accomplished using the stylus, the only exception is the START button will pause the game whenever necessary.

Although one of the simpler games on the market, Welcome to Hugsville is entertaining and absorbing enough to keep a child busy for a long while. Through the wireless DS Multi-Card, it offers the opportunity for multi-player use or chat; the second player must also have Welcome to Hugsville. Within the game there are “secret Web Codes to use online at buildabearville.com.”

Bottom Line: Would I buy Welcome to Hugsville? Yes, young children will enjoy it (as will old ladies with nothing better to do—  which leads to the question, “Is there anything better to do than playing video games?”).

Build-a-Bear Workshop – Welcome to Hugsville is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.

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