Starfy’s been a hero in Japan for years and recently made his North American debut. In this game for the Nintendo DS series, players must guide Starfy though a variety of environments to the end of each stage by swimming, jumping, bouncing and defeating comical ‘enemies’. In addition to the numerous stages, it also includes several smaller games.


The DSi is the newest member of the Nintendo DS family.  In addition to playing DS games, it includes two 640 x 480 pixel digital cameras (one on the front and one on the back), WiFi capability and a SD card slot.  The latter combination allows one to purchase games online and download them to the DSi.  The current street price is around CDN $200.  (Other DS models available at lower prices can play the same games but lack the WiFi and SD card capability.) The game itself, The Legendary Starfy, retails for approximately CDN $35.

If you’re a parent, you already know that the real test of a handheld game is whether it’ll keep kids occupied during a long drive or a rainy day.  To get an honest evaluation, I assigned our 6-year-old junior editor and handed her a Nintendo DSi with the Starfy game card inserted.  Being used to the Leapster and our Wii, she figured it out pretty quick and soon her fingers were flying across the controls. I didn’t dare get in the way.

Nintendo has a knack for creating games that are attractive to — and playable by — a wide age range. For example, I asked our junior editor how she knew which key to press to go through a door, and she showed me that when the door appeared there was a small ‘x’ beside it.

The DSi measures 137mm (5.4 inches) wide, 74.9mm (2.9 inches) long, and 18.9mm (0.74 inches) tall and weighs 214 grams (7.5 ounces), making it a great size for kids and adults alike.  My daughter and I were both able to hold and play it comfortably. 

Unlike other handheld game platforms, the DSi’s dual screens are protected when the device is folded closed.  While I’d recommend a padded case for a child, I simply put the DSi and charger into my shoulder bag. (The charger is small and folds flat, so no prongs stick into or scratch other contents). Even if the DSi ends up in your jacket pocket with keys, minor scratches on the outside of the device won’t impact usability.

The DSi and Starfy combination will set you back CDN $235, which did cause me to wonder if the less expensive DS Lite (CDN $140) would be a better choice for travel entertainment.  On the other hand, the extra $60 gives you the ability to download games from the Internet, and that in itself might make it worthwhile given the general trend toward less expensive downloadable software. Overall, after two weeks of playing with it, we give the Nintendo DSi and Starfy four thumbs up.

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