Majesco Kid's Cards
Genre: Card Games/Puzzle
Developer: Skyworks Technologies
Release Date: September 08, 2005
Sometimes a game comes along that a reviewer simply cannot relate to. Perhaps it's too technical for their tastes, perhaps too difficult to get into... or perhaps it's aimed for an audience that most assuredly is not the reviewer. Majesco Kid's Cards is such a game. After all, it says so in the title of the game - this is card games for kids. In addition, the box art features a bunch of poorly drawn heads which aren't exactly designed to appeal to any sort of gamer's aesthetic sense.
Therein, it is to be assumed, is the biggest problem. This game is obviously geared towards children who aren't old enough for games such as Final Fantasy or dexterous enough for Super Mario Brothers. Being fully able to play and enjoy both of those games leaves this reviewer a bit stranded. I popped the Majesco Kid's Cards cart into my Gameboy, and 15 minutes later, I was done. I hadn't just finished the game, I had seen and done entirely everything there is to do in the game.
Game is perhaps a bit of a misnomer. In reality, it's five classic family-oriented card games: Go Fish, Crazy Eights, War, Old Maid, and Slap Jack. Even then, it's still a slight bit of a stretch to call them "games," as all of them require luck of the draw, and only two involve any sort of observation or timing. Controls are simpler than Dick and Jane Go to the Market; the control pad selects cards, the A button draws cards from the deck, and the B button is used only in Slap Jack, for the titular slapping of the jacks. However, even with controls so simple, they seem flawed - the pause menu is tied to the Select button, whereas the Start button is completely useless. Perhaps it's too much to assume, but typically Start has been used for any and all pause-related functions in... well, pretty much any game.
The game looks and sounds quite simple as well. It doesn't take much to make playing cards look like playing cards, but even then the graphics are incredibly plain. The cards are about the same size and quality of cards you'd find on a portable LCD game, and each game has a single, static screen of the backdrop, with the exception of Go Fish, which actually has a single solitary fish swimming around beneath the cards. The backdrops are also generic and look thrown together in about five minutes through a generic paint program. Likewise, the music has been choked out of an original generation Gameboy, having the same tinny qualities of the original Tetris, with none of the charm.
A cartridge this simple and barebones has to have some sort of extras to fill up the space on the cart however, right? I'm afraid not, as there's not a single additional game or special background to be found. Instead, the spare space on the Majesco Kid's Cards cart has been filled with what sounds like the leftovers of the Kidz Bop singers - a chorus of kids shouting out pretty much every moment of the game to you, right from the title screen to shouts of "Go Fish." It's perhaps high quality, but it's most certainly highly annoying. From the cries of "Fish, fish, got my wish" in Go Fish to the taunts of "draaaaaaaaw" every time you can't play a card in Crazy Eights, it seems like the voices are put in there simply to be as annoying and repetitive as real life kids can be while playing card games.
I am not the audience this game was made for, and I recognize and appreciate that fact. Ultimately, though, it bears repeating; Majesco Kid's Cards is hardly a game at all, and could likely have been hobbled together by a game developer in less than a day. All of the games are entirely based on random number generation, and often, playing is reduced to "hit the A button for five hours." Even the smallest of children will get quickly bored with the collection of games here, leaving it without much of a real point. As a matter of fact, I distinctly believe the ratio would be roughly one second per each year of age the child is.
Stay away. If your child asks for this, remind yourself that a real deck of playing cards will cost you a fraction of the price, and will allow you much more personal interaction, while maintaining the exact same level of entertainment, if not greater.