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Nintendo DS Review: Pogo Island

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Pogo fans will recognize Pogo Island, a game that blends five popular Pogo games with an adventure. Pogo Island consists of Poppit!, Word Whomp, Phlinx, Tri-Peaks Solitaire, and Squelchies. You can play these games individually through the Quick Play option or go on an adventure as Perry the Parrot Captain.

As Captain Perry Parrot, the player works to reunite with the mascots and earn supplies to repair the boat to sail away from the island. The five Pogo games adopt an island look-and-feel to fit in with the story.

Micro-games appear throughout the adventure to help players collect the needed tools to fix the boat. Players earn ranks so they can work their way up from Explorer to Island Guru. They also work hard for the tokens, which players can transfer to their Pogo.com accounts if they have wireless set up on the Nintendo DS for connecting to the Internet. Pogo Island awards badges when players reach milestones like "Win 5 games of Phlinx."

The mini-versions of Pogo's popular games translate well on the small screen. However, the game didn't provide instructions every time a player encountered a game for the first time. Not everyone has played all the games and micro-games on Pogo.com.

It's standard for Nintendo DS games to provide help the first time players play a game. Players can access the help or tutorial anytime from the main menu. However, the micro-game instructions don't appear in the help section. Not all micro-games are obvious that anyone can figure them out without help.

An eight-year-old took interest in Pogo Island and chose to play it over the latest greatest game he recently purchased. However, he became understandably frustrated with the All Aboard, a dull slingshot micro-game. In fact, the micro-games were more of a nuisance than fun to play.

The adventure game starts easy and gets harder as players advance. Game favorites are Poppit! and Tri-Solitaire. Least favorite, Squelchies, doesn't work well with the double-screen since it's difficult to tell the color of the Squelchies appearing in the edge of the screens. Phlinx took a little warming up, but it didn't take long to turn into an addicting game. Word puzzle fans will like Word Whomp.

Fans of multi-player gaming can choose between Party Play and Multi-Card Play. Four players can join in the fun in Party Play mode. Each takes a turn playing the game on the same console. Two players can play in Multi-Card mode, but it requires having two copies of Pogo Island. Only Word Whomp is available in Multi-Card mode.

Pogo Island should make fans of the five games happy now that they can take with them. If the micro-games annoy, just skip Adventure Mode and play Quick Player or Party Play mode.

Pogo Island is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.

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About Meryl K Evans

Meryl K. Evans, Content Maven, is the author of "Brilliant Outlook Pocketbook" and the co-author of "Adapting to Web Standards: CSS and Ajax for Big Sites." She has written and edited for a bunch of places online and off. A native Texan, she lives a heartbeat north of Dallas in Plano, Texas with her husband and three kiddos.
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