Reviewed by Deborah Banasko
The hotly anticipated Frozen II is about to be released at the cinema (I’ve booked my tickets already), and it’s pretty much all my kids can talk about at the moment. The shops are full of Frozen merchandise, and the temptation is to stock up for Christmas, but it’s tricky to know which of the toys to prioritise.
Our family love a good game, but I do have several sat in a cupboard that aren’t played with, so I am quite particular about which I bother to buy these days. I have three children so we have a very full toy room as it is!
The Disney Frozen II game that I was sent to review is called “True Friendship”, I do love a few morals thrown in, and it is for children over the age of 4. There are quite a few parts to set up initially – the usual pieces need popping out of a sheet of card and the spinner requires assembly. My kids find this part exciting and it only took us 5-10 minutes.
The purpose of the game is to play as one of the principal characters, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf or Sven, and race against the Water Nokk to reach and save Elsa. The focus is teamwork, so all of the players work together to win the race against the Water Nokk.
The game board depicts a forest next to the water, with a raised area for the castle. It does need an adult or older child to set it all up and arrange the characters into the correct positions to start the game, and to assemble and lay out the trees with hidden character pictures underneath them. I would imagine after a few times playing the game most children would be able to do this without help. It does feel like a good quality game, and the windmill style spinner is a bit unusual and fun for the children too.
The board looks like the film in that it has a real “Frozen” feel, rather than just a board with a few character graphics for an easy Frozen merchandise sale. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it feels like it follows the lines of the movie with the theme of the game.
My kids did say that they wished the character figures were more 3D than cardboard, but that’s only because they wanted to play with them!
To play the game the spinner is blown; if the spinner lands on the Water Nokk it will move forward or backwards one space according to the spinner. If it lands on a number the player can move any character the stated number of spaces. If a character lands on a leaf then a tree must be selected at random. At the base of the tree is either a Water Nokk or a new Frozen II friend character. You will either have to move the Water Nokk forwards or backwards one space, or find the game character that colour matches the friend character on the tree base. That character is then moved to a matching coloured circle on the board (this could be a forwards or backwards move, so you need more than one character in play at a time just in case). It is much less complex than it sounds! The team need one of the characters to reach Elsa before the Water Nokk does, to win.
What I love about this game is that everyone is playing as a team. Many parents will appreciate this as it can be difficult to fix a game so that your child has a turn at winning. Don’t get me wrong they have to learn that they cannot always win, but when you win a game three times in a row and have your 5 year old’s bottom lip starting to tremble (despite you trying to lose!) it can spoil the day a bit.
With this game, you all win or lose together! On a players turn they can move any of the four main characters so it’s really about team work.
The downside to this is that children struggle to understand the idea of not being a defined character… cue my daughter getting annoyed when her brother moved Anna on his turn as it was “hers”. They did tend to slip into having their own character rather than playing tactically, but I’m sure after a few more games with an adult helping them they will get the idea. I have to add that I was relived at not having to decide which child got to play Elsa (as she is the person they need to rescue)… genius move by the manufacturer.
As you work as a team, the younger person can end up just being told what to do by everyone else rather than participating in the game fully. We made a rule that we don’t tell one-another what to do we just give ideas and options, and we don’t get annoyed at anyone who causes the Water Nokk to win. This meant that we all enjoyed the game and everyone influenced the outcome.
I like that there are males and females doing the “rescuing”, just like in the first movie. This game is quite unusual as it’s not a case of racing to the finish line against everyone else, which can get a bit monotonous. It encourages young children to have to think a bit tactically, and I like the idea of cheering each-other on and not having a smug winner (and often a resultant crier) at the end.
There are also different ways to play in terms of tactics, so it keeps it interesting, and you can increase the difficulty by setting the Water Nokk at a different starting position.
If this were aimed at an older child I would like there to have been a larger board and a few more twists other than just the leaf spaces. However as the target audience starts at the age of 4, I would say that the game is complex enough and takes an appropriate amount of time to play one game (10-15 minutes maximum).
The game is priced at £14.99 on Amazon which is a great price point, as you are getting an enjoyable game that links in with the actual movie rather than just paying a bit extra for a generic game with the word Frozen added to the box. It’s a fantastic Christmas gift idea for any Frozen fan, and is good fun to play as a family.
A game with very little chance of it ending in a family argument or tears once the ground rules have been set, which has to be a win for any parent. I would award the game 4.5 stars out of 5.
Available to buy from Amazon here.