Last week, we hosted a LeapTV party. We invited round some friends, ate yummy food and played on the new LeapTV gaming system for kids. The night before the party, I unboxed the console and set it up. I made this unboxing video to show you exactly what’s included in the box…
LeapTV is a new console aimed at children aged 3-8 years. It is like a cross between the Nintendo Wii and XBox Kinect. (It has a camera which detects your movement, as well as a wand style controller option). All of the games are educational, and the console is designed to get childrens’ minds and bodies moving. The console retails at £120, and you get one free game download (Pet Play World) when you register your console. We were lucky enough to receive the console and 3 games to play at our party, so I thought I’d review them for you.
Once our LeapTV was unboxed, I set it up. To begin with, my camera wasn’t picking anything up. After changing a few bulbs, it did eventually start working. (I had to increase our “big lights” from 50w to 200w before the camera could pick up my movements to set up the camera. When we played in daylight, the camera worked much better than it did at night.
The controller is really clever. It can be used as a traditional gaming pad as well as a wand. I made this quick video to show you how it works…
The console itself is best stood up (like the Wii). This allows more air to get to the console to prevent overheating. It can take LeapTV game cartridges, or you can download new games from the app store, and save them on the 1GB internal memory. The console connects to the internet via either wifi or ethernet. You need to connect to the internet to register your console and receive your free game download.
We’ve been playing on the console for a week now, and on the whole we are pretty impressed. The game definitely gets kids (and their parents) moving. Bubble Guppies is aimed at children aged 3+ and retails at £24.99. The game involves playing various mini games, starring the characters from the show.
The 3 year olds at our party enjoyed the mini games, but they did struggle navigating from one to another. Some mini games involved using the controller as a wand, (pointer play) while others needed you to put the controller down and use the camera (body motion). The children picked up the way each mini game worked fairly easily – with a little help from the parents.
We also received Jake & the Neverland Pirates – This was definitely the most popular game of the 3 we received. It features the famous theme tune from the show, and the mini games are really fun (as well as educational). One of the mini games involves jumping around to collect coins. It definitely got all of the children moving!
This game was the smoothest of the 3, the fastest to load and by far the most played. It has an age recommendation of 3+ and retails at £24.99. The main characters from the show are part of the game – even Captain Hook!
The final game we received was Dance & Learn. This retails at £24.99 and is aimed at children aged 4+. I felt this was a little advanced for the children who attended our party. (They were all under 4 though). Most of the games involved reading or listening, in one form or another. It is a game which would be great for children aged 5+, but I think most 4 year olds would probably struggle to listen, think of the answer and do the action within the timeframe.
Personally, I felt the camera quality on our LeapTV wasn’t great. Ours had a very
red tint to it, and looks much darker than the room is. (The below photo
shows what I mean). I am beginning to think we have received a faulty
camera, so I will get in touch with customer service and update this
review to let you know what they say/do.
I asked the other parents what they thought, and the general consensus was
that the game play was good, but it wasn’t easy for children to navigate the menu independently. This made younger children lose interest quickly. With this in
mind, they thought that 4+ was a more suitable minimum age.
Overall, we are fans of the console. I think the age 3 minimum age is a little generous. Like the other parents at our LeapTV party, I too would say it’s great for children aged 4 and over. The 3 year olds who played on ours all got frustrated with the controller very easily, and struggled to follow on screen instructions. The menu isn’t easy for younger children to navigate if they can’t read, and trying to get the controller off an excited 3 year old is a challenge and a half!
We love to get outdoors and keep active, but some days the weather just doesn’t allow for that. On days like those, LeapTV will definitely be a great way to have some fun and burn off some energy as a family. I think it’s a good starter console for children. The main plus for me is the fact all of the games are aimed at children, and they are cheaper than other consoles.
Based on our experience so far, I am giving LeapTV 4/5. If your child is age 4+ then this will make a great starter console. I have knocked off 1 mark because I feel the camera quality on our console could be better, and the menu navigation isn’t as easy as it could be. If it turns out our camera is faulty, I will of course update this review.
This is not a sponsored post. I was sent the items to review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.