Spelling Jungle

aka: Dream Team: Basic Spelling Tricks, Yobi's Basic Spelling Tricks, Yobi's Magic Spelling Tricks, Yobi's Spelling Demons
Moby ID: 662
Macintosh Specs

Description

Spelling Jungle (also known as Yobi's Basic Spelling Tricks) is an educational game with puzzle elements. The general objective of the game is to paddle a raft up a river, preventing it from flooding. The game consists of two main gameplay modes: solving a word-spelling puzzle on the "puzzle map", and participating in a simple spelling test. The objective of the puzzle map is to collect letter tiles by walking over them in the correct order, spelling a suggested word. The game consists of 101 such maps, gradually increasing in difficulty: the player will eventually have to avoid enemies (such as rhinoceroses and tigers), try not to fall into bottomless pits, and use various tools and vehicles to get to the desired letter.

Completion of a puzzle map section leads to a spelling test phase, where the player is asked to spell various words. If the player spells the word correctly, his raft will slightly advance. After having spelled several words correctly, the player will be able to advance to the next level.

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Credits (Windows 3.x version)

7 People

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Lead Engineer (Macintosh)
Software Engineer (Windows)
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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 60% (based on 1 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 18 ratings with 1 reviews)

A great educational title, but is it really for children?

The Good
Spelling Jungle was created by Bright Star Technology, who also did a series of games aimed at players in their early childhood, such as Alphabet Blocks, Early Math, and Kid's Typing. Out of all these games, Spelling Jungle is the hardest of them all, considering all the trouble you go through to complete the 101 levels, and the aim is to navigate a river upstream to prevent it from overflowing, which actually doesn't happen. I first heard about the game when I played the sample demo included on an early version of King's Quest VII, along with Bright Star's other offerings. Judging by the developers listed on the title screen, I doubt that Bright Star was an American company.

The star of the game is Yobi, a local native who guides the player throughout each level. At the start of each one, he tells you that you must spell out a certain word, and you do this by walking over tiles in the same order as how the word is spelled. When you manage to walk over all the tiles in the right order, the raft in which the player came in will re-appear, and you are told to get back on it. A bit of text underneath the action shows you how to put the word in a sentence. From time to time, you will hear Yobi bang his staff on the ground if he's getting impatient with you.

The first few levels are quite easy, with no dangers to worry about and the completion time for them being no more than five minutes. The later levels, however, introduce dangers that must be avoided, be it animals or reptiles, or structures that hurl projectiles at you whenever you are in their vicinity. There are also items in some levels that you have to make use of, including bridges that let you get across water or tomatoes that you have to throw at zebras so that they follow you. Coming into contact with any planning or walking over the wrong tile will force a restart.

While solving each level, noises coming from both birds and animals can be heard in the background, adding to the game's atmosphere. In addition, as your character walks over each tile, Yobi's parrot squawks as if someone is poking him, and Yobi himself makes noises. My personal favorite is him thinking about food and going “Mmm, Mmm”. As for the graphics, the layout

In between levels, you see your character trying to paddle his way to the other side of the screen. To help him, you have to spell a series of words using the keyboard, starting with the one that you spelled in the previous level with the tiles. Get the word right and your character moves along a bit and a person pops up above the word that you just spelled. Get it wrong and Yobi spells it out for you, and acts as if he is participating in one of those spelling competitions. While you are spelling out each word, you get to hear some nice tribal music, and the animations of the people look nice. The more levels you get through, the more words you have to spell and the more people that pop up. When you spelled out the final word, you can hear Yobi deliver on of his Confucius-like sayings, spelling-related of course.

More than one person can play the same game, but they have to enter their own names so that each game is unique, but there is a limited amount of characters to do so. The name Katakis obviously didn't fit, so I had to use my name. All the names are listed on the scoreboard on the map screen, along with the level that person is on. It looks boring having only one name on there.

The Bad
This game is targeted at children aged three to ten, but considering how difficult most of the levels are, I doubt that they will have fun spending many minutes collecting tiles and figuring out how to complete the level. I have a lot of patience and had no problem completing the level; but if I was still in my early childhood, I would have stopped after about ten levels.

Some words you have to type at the keyboard sound the same but are spelt differently (eg: CAUGHT and COURT), and this may confuse children. Yobi also isn't clear enough when he tells you what word you need to spell.

The Bottom Line
Spelling Jungle is an educational title from Bright Star Technology, and one of their hardest titles. Every level is spent collecting tiles that form a word, with most of them requiring planning and taking a few minutes of your time. In between levels, spelling words directly from keyboard gives you a break from it all. The problem with this game is that it is targeted at children under ten, yet most of it is quite difficult that some will have lots of trouble with it.

Windows 3.x · by Katakis | カタキス (43091) · 2016

Trivia

Titles

Spelling Jungle was originally distributed by Bright Star Technology under the name Basic Spelling Tricks. When the company was acquired by Sierra, the game was released under the name Yobi's Magic Spelling Tricks, but was also referred to as Yobi's Basic Spelling Tricks, Basic Spelling, and Yobi's Spelling Demons. Also the game developers have left a comment in the executable file's dump as follows: "The original name of this program is Yobi's Spelling Demons, but we had to change it because some people might think this program has something to do with evil supernatural beings." In 1994, the name was changed to Spelling Jungle.

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  • MobyGames ID: 662
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Accatone.

Macintosh added by ssokolow.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, POMAH, Corn Popper, Rwolf.

Game added January 3, 2000. Last modified August 15, 2023.