TUNELAND from 7th Level

Reviewed by Harry Chow
          Computer        Graphics        Memory          Disk Space
Minimum   386 25MHz       256 color SVGA  4 MB            5 MB
Max/Rec.  486 DX/33+

Control:  Mouse 
  Sound:  MPC Compatible Sound Card
  Notes:  Tuneland requires Windows 3.1 or higher.                 
          A CDROM drive with a CD Audio Connector is also required.   
          For ages 3 and older.

Reviewer recommends: 486 DX/33, 4MB RAM, Double Speed CDROM drive.

TUNELAND is a musical cartoon adventure designed for children of all ages. As the player, you have been invited to join Little Howie (voice played by Howie Mandel) as a guest at Old MacDonald's farm. There are a total of eight areas to explore, and each area is filled with objects and characters for you to interact with simply by clicking the mouse cursor on them. Little Howie is hiding somewhere in every place you visit, so it is a good idea to try to interact with as many things as possible to try to find him. Practically everything in each scene responds with some kind of animation, sound effect, or if you are lucky, song!

Tuneland contains many elements which make it enjoyable. The songs are one of the best features in the game. There are no eight bit sampled tunes here. All the songs are CD quality so you get to hear all the instruments and singing in their clearest form. Are the songs worth listening to at all? The answer to this question is a definite yes! 7th Level has done a fine job assembling a group of talented musicians and singers. I found myself tapping my feet to a lot of the songs. All the music in Tuneland is based on traditional children songs. There are over forty different songs in the game! In addition to the game, Tuneland comes with jukebox software that will allow you to play all the music from the game. This is for those people who don't want to hunt down all the characters and objects in the game that trigger the songs. Tuneland's graphics are also well done. The animation is extremely smooth (especially for a Super VGA product), and the backgrounds are pleasing to the eye. One of the funniest scenes in the game is when the farmer's wife is chasing the mice with the broom. The song "Three Blind Mice" is playing in the background, and all the mice have on cool dark shades as they run around the table. Tuneland also provides several hot keys that when pressed, allow the player to jump to any scene in the game. There is a key for autoplay as well for those who just want to watch and not interact. These features, along with its easy point and click interface makes Tuneland a truly enjoyable gaming experience.

In addition to the good points, there are some minor bad points to the game. One of the most notable limitations to the game is that it only runs under Microsoft Windows, so if you do not own a copy of Windows, you will not be able to run this game. This is not a big problem since most machines today come pre-packaged with Windows, but how many people want their kids navigating through their Windows desktop? Another problem I had initially was that I could not get the CD audio to play in the game. It turned out that I needed to include the [MCI] CD Audio drivers in the Windows setup. The technical support people were very helpful and quick to pinpoint my problem. Unfortunately, the call was not toll free. It would have been nice if this information was included somewhere in the documentation. Finally, although every scene is entertaining, the limitation of eight total areas in the game brings up the problem concerning what kind of replay value you will have. There is no real goal in the game. The player simply explores the various areas. Hence, for an exploration type game, it would have been nice if there were more areas to explore.

In conclusion, Tuneland is a very impressive product which children of all ages (even us "older" children) can enjoy. Program installation is easy and straight forward. The songs are catchy and the cartoon style animation is fun to watch. Voice characterizations are very well done as well. Tuneland's many good features clearly outweigh its bad ones. Overall, the game is very entertaining and serves as a good tool to introduce young minds to the fascinating world of computers.

This review is Copyright (C) 1994 by Harry Chow for Game Bytes Magazine. All rights reserved.