We take family gaming seriously here. lol We each have our own games that we love to play, but I am always on the hunt for family friendly games that we can play together.
National Geographic Challenge! allows players to explore our planet through its history and geography, providing a journey through the ages and an inside look at the extraordinary extent of mankind’s achievements. You can play in English, French, or Spanish, to help kids work on a foreign language! The game can also be played single player, or with up to four players. You can use your created Mii, or pick a premade character. You also get to choose an avatar for your character to be, each of which gives special powers - everything from an astronaut to a pink skull treasure hunter!
There are two major modes: quiz mode, which lets you choose between 40, 60, or 80 questions based on one of seven different regions of the world. You can choose from easy or hard on the subject questions. There are a variety of different questions, from puzzles to basic trivia. Some videos are also shown, and you have to answer questions based on the information shared in the video.
Explorer mode is a capture the castle kind of game. The world is broken into different random territories depending on the amount of players. Your goal is to "capture" all six pieces of a territory. Like the quiz mode, you can choose from easy to hard. You'll answer quizzes, play mini games, anagrams, and compete head to head to own each territory. Certain territories are worth more than others, and you can use your special ability to overtake a certain territory if you need to. Once you explore a whole region, that region will be locked down, and your opponents can no longer capture it. There are also hidden wildcards that can have an effect on the game - everything from gaining a turn to random opponents being included in your quiz to gain that territory you were trying to grab!
There are also the Puzzle Challenge and Classic Puzzles. For these, you need to place puzzle pieces into pictures. The puzzle games do require good handling of the remotes, as do the quiz questions - you need to click exactly on the answer. If you miss the small space - you could end up accidentally choosing the wrong answer!
The game also requires a good amount of reading skills, as well as the obvious world knowledge. While the game says it is rated E for Everyone, I'd have to say it's geared more towards the ages ten and up crowd. That's not to say that younger kids can't buddy up with an older player (this is what we do in this case - the winner gets our kiddo added to their team), but even on easy, the world questions can be tough. It also warns on the back of alcohol and tobacco references, but after playing the game several times, we didn't spot any of them. Do keep this in mind - it probably just has to do with questions asking about where tobacco fields are, etc,.
If you don't own a Wii, this game is also available for both the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Although I can't comment on those versions of the game as I haven't played them, I believe you can also purchase extra downloaded quiz questions through their platforms.
All in all, we had fun with this game. At first glance it seems like it's just a kids game, but this is one of those games that adults can really have fun with without kids present. There have been other "party" style games that DH and I have rented or bought, and really ended up bored with one the first play - we were actually itching to play this one sans kiddo several nights in a row. lol If you are looking for a last minute gaming gift for a Wii owner, especially if they like trivia or traveling - National Geographic Challenge! is a great idea!
National Geographic Challenge! for the Wii retails for $19.99, and you can purchase it wherever Wii games are sold, including online via Amazon.com.
I received a copy of this game in order to play it and share my thoughts on it. All opinions are my own.