Adventures in Time allows the player to operate
Catepillar construction machines in 5 different time periods/locations: Camelot, ancient China,
Rome, Egypt, and on the moon. In each time zone the user is given two simple
projects to complete using a variety of CAT machines available at the site.
For example, in Rome the user is placed at a Coliseum-like site called the Circus
Maximus where the job is to level the arena floor and pave the track to make
chariot racing safer and more efficient.
A few 3-D question marks appear at
different locations. When touched by one of the vehicles, pertinent
educational tidbits are shared with the operator. Oops- CRASH - poor driving
can result in demolished buildings and landscape! Don't worry these are
quickly repaired by the citizenry who scurry around trying to avoid being run
When tasks are completed in each
time period, the user receives a picture which can be printed and assembled into a
3-D model. The program has an easy and normal mode, and the music/sound
effects can be turned on or off.
Apart from the few facts shared by interfacing with the scattered
question marks at various sites, there is not a lot of knowledge imparted to
the user. The timeline shows historical perspective (we are stretching
here...) but Adventures in Time's primary focus is in communicating simple
directions which direct children to complete an elementary task. It is a
basic program and introduces the very young to manipulating the mouse in
Adventures in Time is definitely a 'boy toy.' It even comes with a palm-size
yellow Caterpillar dump truck! Aimed for the age when kids are enamored with
big construction equipment and just can't get enough of those trucks, it is
simple enough for preschoolers to use and a good way to introduce them to
manipulating mouse/screen movement coordination. The catapult and
accidentally running into things are fun, however, even these lose amusement value
after so many repetitions. The more savvy
child will find this too simplistic. Mattel's recommended rating is E for
everyone and is suggested for ages 5 and up, but our reviewers felt that any youngster ready to
point and click the mouse will find this a gentle introduction to computer use. Most 6-7
year olds are ready for more complex programs.
Ease of Use / Install
On our Windows ME test machine, the installation was
seamless and took only a few minutes. Navigation through the program was
straightforward and uncomplicated.
Best for... / Bottom-Line
Adventures in Time is geared for the young child, especially boys, and
especially boys who like trucks! Preschoolers will be able to entertain
themselves without parental assistence using this program but its educational
value is minimal.