I have got a new memory game for you today! I have talked before about memory games and you can find my review for some nature themed games here. This one is called Critter Cruise. It is a memory game with a few tweaks. Most memory games have you flipping two tiles to find a match. In Critter Cruise, the matching mechanism is quite unique. Here is what the game is about...
It’s been raining for hours! Even the ground is starting to get soggy. That’s why Noah is inviting all the animals to shelter under the roof on his ark and take a cruise. Each animal can bring one suitcase with their most important items. But it’s crazy – the suitcases are laying around in a complete mess! It’s hard to find the right one. Help Noah get the animals and their suitcases onto the ark before they get completely soaked.
As Noah moves along the line of animals, you need to match that animal to its suitcase. You can only move Noah one space on your turn, so if you found the cat's suitcase and the cat is at the end of the line you need to work together to get Noah to the cat. If you flip over a suitcase full of bubbles, the ground begins to be covered in water. You need to work together as a team to get all the animals on board the ark before all the land tiles get wet.
When I open a game box labeled 3+ my expectations are very low. I love a three year old as much as the next person, but they are not very good at doing things and they have a very short attention span. Board games designed for very small children tend to be very simple, very repetitive, and very boring for the grown ups. Critter Cruise was a breath of fresh air in children's gaming.
We tried to put the game away after 3 plays and the tot was having none of it! He hasn't loved a game this much since Hedgehog Haberdash. If you want to learn more about Hedgehog Haberdash, check out this post. The things is, we didn't mind playing it again either. The game is cooperative, so we are in it together as a team. Knowing that the animals that don't make it onto the ark are going to drown in the impending flood adds some serious excitement to the results of the game. You can leave that part out in your game description to your child if you like.
The game is a race against time as the bubble suitcases pop up and the land begins to flood. If you can remember which suitcases have bubbles, there will be one land tile left and you can absolutely win every time. That outcome is so rare though. When there are six suitcases left and you know five of them are bubbles, the game gets a little tense. You are either going to rescue that last animal or leave him to a watery fate. You may have noticed that we like a little intensity in our games. The fact that we can enjoy some intense excitement in a game designed for three year olds is pretty impressive.
On top of the truly fun game play, the components are high quality and the box size is nice and small. The game comes with a set of adorable wooden animal meeples. The construction of the ark using the box is really above and beyond what was necessary but such a lovely touch. We do love a small game box too. It is so important in a small living space. If you only buy one game for a small child this year (is that possible?) it should be Critter Cruise!