Monday, May 21, 2007

NETJET Review! Online Game System for Tweens

Today, Cool Moms out there, I have a fantastic product review for you! The NetJet Online Game System, designed for tweens, manufactured by Hasbro (Tiger Electronics) is only available online right now, will be hitting your store's shelves by the Fall, and you are seeing it reviewed here FIRST on Cool Moms Rule!

First, let me explain a little about what the NetJet unit is:

It IS a system which lets your kids play all kinds of fun games, including Kool Kart Racers and Mission Paintball, right on your computer, without allowing them access to anything age-inappropriate, in one self-contained unit.

What the NetJet unit is NOT:

It is NOT a big game console, with an expensive price tag and wires and peripherals to hook up.

I had the opportunity to try out the NetJet Online Gaming System along with my kids, and here's my take:

The NetJet unit consists of a controller unit with an attached USB connector. It comes vacuum-packed with a small "key", the size of a USB drive or a regular key ring (it even comes with a cute key ring attached to it!).

Now, I decided to take on this review as if I were not too computer savvy. And, to make it even more challenging, I didn't even read the instructions first, just to see how intuitive this system is.

First, I opened up the vacuum packaging. (This was, by far, the hardest part of the review. I would go on about the evils of vacuum packaging, but that's fodder for another blog post.)

I took out the controller, looked at the USB connector, looked at my desktop computer's ports, found the one that the USB connector fit into, and plugged it in. Ta DA!

Immediately, on the bottom of my screen, I see "Found New Hardware: NetJet." I didn't have to do a thing; Windows recognized the controller right off. (This unit is compatible with Windows 2000 and later operating systems, and I have Windows XP on my desktop).

A nice welcome message tells me to insert my key. I pick up the cute keycode unit, look at the controller, slip it right in. There's only one place that it can go, so this is no biggie.

Now the screen shows me all kinds of game choices in the form of pics and descriptions. Along with my NetJet comes 30 minutes of free play for any of the games I view on my screen.

I decide to go with Mission Paintball, mostly because this is what I think my boys would choose.

The first time I play, it takes 5 minutes to download the demo for Mission Paintball. After that, if I want to play again, I don't have to wait.

I can pick from two characters, a boy and a girl. I, naturally, choose the girl.

The object of the game is to shoot targets with my paintballs. Amusingly, the targets are cardboard cutouts of the boy I didn't choose as my player. Again, I go into this without reading the instructions, and I have no problem at all.

I play this game three times, and I have to tell you, it's fun!

The first time, I barely got half the targets knocked down. I had to search for them--my character is in a big warehouse, with four floors and big crates, and the targets are scattered and hidden all over. Plus, it takes 3 shots with my paintball gun to knock out the target (it's easy to tell if the target is "downed", since it turns the neon green of my paintballs).

I also have four paintball "grenades", which I discover accidentally when I run out of primary ammo. I love the grenades. They fly up in an arc and when they hit, SPLAT! There's paint all over. I can also refill my paintball gun with other paintball ammo containers that are hidden in the level.

The second round, I almost made it. The third time, I only had ONE target left when time for the round ran out. I couldn't find it! I found the controller pretty easy to use, though it wasn't quite as responsive as either a Playstation or Xbox controller. Still, the speed of the response was fine for the game--I could have made it through if I had found that last pesky target!

My 13 year-old, who is a bit of a game guru, played the game next. Naturally, after a practice run, he was able to find all the targets and knock them out in seconds. The games are designed for kids 8 and up, especially for tweens, so he is actually a little old for this system.

My newly-12-year-old boy enjoyed playing the system and was eventually able to find all the targets, just barely running out of time before he could down them all.

We all had several tries on just the sample demo keycode unit that came with the controller.

We didn't have to stop there, though. You can buy extra keys for particular games that you tried with the demo and liked. Also, more games will be forthcoming.

When you are all done playing with the NetJet system, all you have do is unplug the unit from the USB port.

Here's my final scores for the NetJet Online Gaming System:

The NetJet unit retails (online only right now, but again you will be able to purchase these from your local stores where Hasbro products are sold in the Fall) for just 24.99. Remember, that includes the demo key, that lets you try out the games for 30 minutes. I give the unit an A+ for ease of connection and value for your money.

Although my kids and I had no trouble playing, we are pretty game-savvy, and the controls were not as quick as the higher-priced game controllers out there. Response times lagged. I'm going to give the controls an A- for this reason.

As a Mom who has shelled out lots of cash over the years for games that my kids became bored with after only a few minutes, I especially appreciated the "try it before you buy it" demo keycode that comes with the original unit, as well as the fact that additional keycode units are only 14.99. When you add that cost into the initial unit's cost, that's still only $39.98 total. So, for overall value and affordability, I'm giving the system an A+.

Lastly, as far as content, I would give the NetJet Online Gaming System an A+, for providing games that are appropriate in content for kids ages 8-12.

The NetJet Online Gaming System is: highly recommended.

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EmThree said...

No offense, I'm 13 and this is pretty lame. My cousin, aged 8 loves it, but that's expected, if I were his age I'd like it too. No, I'm not asking for a game full of blood baths, I want something that challenges the mind and takes skill, not button mashing. I'll stick with my Wii any day. Sure, it's pricier, but a million times better.

me said...

I think I would have to agree that the system is much better for tweens and younger than for teenagers. =)

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