Stowaway 52 sure brought me back to my early reading days when I would load up at the library on this particular choose-your-own-adventure series of books! For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of it (let me know if you were into any of these in the early 90s!).
You play as this kid aboard an alien spaceship. The aliens are unaware of your presence, and you try to sneak around trying to avoid detection while collecting tools and items to help you sabotage the ship. Do you climb to the bottom of the duct or climb out onto the bridge? Do you hide under the counter or in the food crate? Do you shoot the aliens with a freeze ray or jump onto the elevator? Do you try to take the keycard or try to move past the alien? Each decision leads to another until your choice leads to a card you’ve already played. Then you add up your point total to see what the crazy ending will be. Only the sneakiest, bravest of stowaways will successfully thwart the alien attack on planet earth!
This is a super engaging story-based game for kids. Each scenario laid out is simple, short, and cleverly leads to a logical decision. Some decisions seem more obvious while others are completely random and don’t seem to make any difference at all; just like life! Except in life, you don’t always get to start over after being cooked in a pot for alien soup.
I love that Stowaway 52 lets kids fail! I am opposed to the everyone-gets-a-trophy mentality that doesn’t help teach kids how to deal with failure, disappointment, or just plain losing. Every game of Stowaway 52 makes the entire journey exciting and engaging. My boy would grin from ear to ear each time we would get caught and groan, “Ah man!” It’s almost as fun as winning the entire game (which we still haven’t done!).
This is also a great game for early to mid-level readers (although there are definitely some challenge words mixed in). If your child sees reading as a tedious chore, have him or her play a game of Stowaway 52. It’s all reading with few pictures, but they forget that they’re doing something they wouldn’t normally want to do! I played the first few games with my 5-year-old boy, and now he likes to take it and play by himself (yes, he’s a crazy good reader for his age).
Overall, I give Stowaway 52 a high 7 for its incredibly engaging gameplay, it’s clever storyline, and for how fun it is to play together with kids (that’s big for me!).
Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.