E3 2008: Dora the Explorer: Dora Saves the Snow Princess Impressions

Dora and Boots weather the Arctic chill.


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You know you were waiting for it, and now, we finally got a chance to get our hands on this hotly anticipated platformer. OK, so maybe you weren't perspiring over the possibilities, but truth be told, we had a good time playing Dora Saves the Snow Princess on the E3 2008 show floor. The game is targeted at players between the ages of 3 and 5 (and, apparently, childlike game journalists like us), and looks like a natural extension of the popular cartoon franchise.

Dora Saves the Snow Princess is a platformer that makes good use of the Wii Remote. In this case, you hold the remote vertically and tilt it from side to side to move the famous bilingual youngster left or right. To jump, you press the 2 button. It's simple enough, but there are other contextual actions to perform as well. Sometimes, you may pass by hidden treasure caches, which will glow as you near them. By pressing 2 when the object glows, you will send Boots the monkey, Dora's constant companion, to recover it. In most of these cases, Boots will dive into a snowdrift and produce the collectible snowflakes hidden inside.

There were also some interesting uses of the Wii's motion controls. To climb a ladder, you press 2 when you near it, then Dora will grab it. Then, you tilt the remote left and right to climb, as if you are climbing a ladder yourself. In some cases, you may need to dig up snowflakes from a snow pile. To do this, you scoop the remote up and down just like you are--you guessed it--shoveling a snowdrift.

The game captures the charm of the popular cartoon quite nicely. It sports a colorful look and some cute touches. In some cases, Dora will snowboard down a steep hill and do a loop-de-loop. When she drops into subterranean levels, she automatically dons a miner's hat, complete with built-in spotlight. Curious parents (and additional childlike game journalists) can also join in as a fairy that accompanies Dora to help make use of the cups of hot chocolate you can collect.

A similar game will be released that features Dora's cousin Diego, which Take-Two believes will help make the product more appealing to boys. So slide on your snowshoes and snuggle into a warm parka because the snow princess must be rescued, and Dora and Diego are the only ones that can do it. Dora the Explorer: Dora Saves the Snow Princess will be available for the Wii and the PlayStation 2, and a version is also being created for the DS. We'll be working around the clock to bring you late breaking Dora developments as they are announced.

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