Parents who grew up in the golden age of arcades and the 90’s Console Wars are preputally wondering the best way to get young kids in video games. There is no shortage of classic options to start their love affair with gaming, whether it be anything starring Mario to the limitless possibilities of Minecraft. But now, a new title has emerged that is the perfect entry-level game for even the littlest kid. On November 17, 2023, Bluey: The Videogame was released across all consoles, offering a chance to play as one of the most popular animated characters on TV, while introducing children to understanding video games in a fun way that families can play together.
Bluey: The Videogame was quietly revealed through a leak, catching the attention of fans of this Australian animated series available on Disney+. The game was just released days earlier, and Fatherly has this extensive review to let you know how we feel about it. With the third season coming to an epic conclusion in 2024, there’s no better time than now to dive into a video game with this lovable family of Blue Heeler dogs. To be clear, let’s not confuse this new game with the mediocre Bluey mobile game that was also released earlier this year, which we weren’t big fans of at all. The one we’re looking at now is an interactive sandbox adventure that can be enjoyed by up to four players of all ages – for real life!
Here’s our full review of Bluey: The Videogame, and why it’s great for kids and families to play together.
This Episode of Bluey Is Called…
While cleaning the Heeler house with their parents, Bluey and Bingo uncover a torn shard of something special – a treasure map! Dad Bandit explains this belonged to him and his two brothers while growing up in the wild times of the 1980’s, and leads to a hidden secret buried somewhere special. The family must recover the remaining pieces of the map and follow it to unearth the mysterious reward from yesteryear while playing familiar games from the show and having silly adventures along the way.
Published by Outright Games and developed by Artax Games, this couch co-op game feels like a highly interactive episode of the show, complete with the iconic theme song immediately after starting up. As many as four people can play side-by-side through levels that take place in their massive home, the playground, the creek, and the beach. Seriously, their house is way bigger than we ever expected! The animation looks solid, keeping in line with the visuals of the cartoons. Likewise, Bluey is nothing without its music, and this game is loaded with Joff Bush’s excellent score. The songs perfectly set the mood, whether a level is meant to be exciting and invigorating, or soothing to relax you.
In between completing the four-part storyline, players can also enjoy four mini-games including Keepy Uppy, Magic Xylophone, Ground is Lava, and Capture the Chattermax. What? You didn’t expect that annoying Furby imposter to not be in a Bluey video game? The mini-games games can be played in any location, and are a fine way to take a break from the narrative. Other fan-favorites make cameos, such as Rug Island and Sticky Gecko.
The Heelers Take Control
Bluey, Bingo, mum Chilli, and Bandit are all playable characters who can be swapped at any time on the pause menu. None of the characters have any special abilities that make them different, although they do have unique idle animations that are fun to watch. Even if you’re playing a single-player game by yourself, the entire family is always by your side to lend a paw. Bluey: The Videogame emphasizes teamwork, with actions that require other players like having the kids climb on the shoulders of their parents to reach high places, or moving heavy objects as a unit to achieve their goals. As Bandit says during one of the stages, “Team work makes the dream work!”
The Heelers run around, jump on beds, slide down banisters, bounce on the trampoline, and more while completing storyline quests across the episodic game. It’s an ideal way to teach kids about the buttons on a controller, general gaming mechanics, and how to move and platform. The difficulty ramps up with more of these functions required in shorter succession to hit the end of a level, but the game is never truly hard in any way. The goal is to acclimate and reinforce these new finer motor skills, and teach this in the least punishing way possible through short fetch quests, obstacle courses, and mini-games that are the perfect length for any developing attention span.
Players can immediately replay a stage after finishing it or have it accessible for later by using the Sticker Book, or choose to freely explore the area to seek out hidden objects and collectibles. These Easter Eggs from the series include mum’s hockey sticks, pavlova, plush toys, Unicorse, and more. Finding these items results in hats to dress your family up in, straight from the animated show. Once I unlocked the plaid hat Bingo wears when pretending to be a mustachioed man, I never took it off, babe!
The unlockables are only accessible after a level is completed, keeping your kids focused on the story and not sidetracked during the game. This is a nice touch that offers flexibility in how you play, keeping the plot moving while also giving gamers control over how completely they want to finish the game. On the same token, many modern games have a wayfinder, or something to instruct the player where they need to head to accomplish their mission. Bluey: The Videogame has a small visual aid during the story mode to remind kids where to go next, along with audio clues from mum and dad.
How long does Bluey: The Videogame take?
Bluey: The Videogame takes about an hour to complete the interactive story, and it can take another hour or two to track down all the stickers and hidden objects. Replayability is built into the game, so long as your kids enjoy the storyline levels. Even if they don’t, the mini-games are there to keep them entertained, best when enjoyed with people playing together. It’s a delightful and well-paced experience that’s easy to return to, and a splendid first step to help your child enter the world of video games.
It’s not without a handful of buggy bits, but it’s nothing game-breaking. Platforming is one of the main actions in the game, but due to how floaty everyone jumps, this can make for an occasionally frustrating experience but nothing that can’t be resolved with a few tries. I noticed some low-res textures while playing on the Nintendo Switch, but the game otherwise looked like I was watching a typical episode of Bluey. Other than a family member sporadically walking in front of me while I was trying to navigate their sprawling mansion home, all of my quibbles were very minor.
If there’s one thing I really wanted more of from the game, it would be more characters. Bandit’s brothers show up, along with Chilli’s dad and Muffin, but I would’ve loved to see Bluey’s friends, Calypso, or any of the Heeler neighbors. The fact that Lucky’s dad never shows up once to become haplessly involved in a game is a shame, so the best we can hope for is a sequel to give us more of those quirky characters.
Bluey episodes always have a message within the message, and the video game is no different. By the end of the story, players learn a valuable life lesson just like in the show, and there is one to be learned from picking up this video game, too. The game might be the treasure you hold in your hands, but the memories you make while playing it with your family are the real reward.