Impressions: Hello Kitty Party

There are several games for children out there, and most of them aren’t quite up to par. Even worse, when a licensed kids’ game comes out, as it’s usually going straight to the bargain bin not long after release. Sure, the kids might get a little enjoyment out of it, but we’re not doing them any favors by handing them copies of the latest baby training game or anything like that. With that said, there are some wholly inoffensive titles that you can feel good about giving your children, because they’re either middle of the road or absolutely inoffensive. Hello Kitty Party for the Nintendo DS is one of those. Featuring some of Sanrio’s flagship, cutesy characters such as the purrrrrrfect feline herself, it’s a gentle and inviting set of mini-games that children will love to wrap their paws around.

In a set of 25 different mini-games, kids can play along with Hello Kitty, Badtz Maru, Keroppi, and My Melody, performing tasks such as cutting patterns, shopping, sending out party invitations, It’s quite obvious that this game is geared toward girls due to the copious usage of pink and cutesy patterns, but all younger gamers can find something appropriate to their tastes here. Most of the mini games are Cooking Mama-esque, especially frying foods and washing the several different ingredients required to make a certain dish. They can be performed by adults with a hand tied behind their back (I found them nauseatingly easy, of course), but upon letting cousins play around with Hello Kitty and her friends, I found that it presented a somewhat decent challenge if given to younger players who haven’t yet subscribed to the notion that they’re “too old” for kiddie games.

The stylus is fairly responsive, as most of the movements that need being done are simple dragging, chopping, or spinning motions. I did find that they were much smoother here than in the Cooking Mama or Gardening Mama games, which is strange, since I know the Mama series is a much more “revered” series. Kids would certainly get less frustrated performing the tasks asked of them in Hello Kitty Party, and that makes it much easier to recommend to the younger set.

As far as graphics go, pastels are king. Cartoony figures of some of the most popular Sanrio characters are faithfully represented within. You’re always discovering new characters within the game, so it’s a delightful treasure trove of recognizable faces that you grew up with or your children are just now discovering. Cutesy, sugary music comes wafting through the speakers of your DS. It’s really a delightful experience.

Hello Kitty Party may not take a rocket scientist to figure out, and it’s not for the hardcore. It is, however, a great choice to give to your kids (or available youngster in your life) in the event that you need something that speaks to them on their level. Just don’t be surprised if they begin clamoring for something with a little more substance.

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