It's not often we're demoed a game that's designed for kids and we manage not to switch off after about two minutes. It's something to do with the assault of primary colours and having to feign interest in repetitive, one-button mini-games. (Kids enjoy repetition then reward apparently. EA has done 'tests'. It should know).
But perhaps because in this situation - it's EA Casual open house event in Covent Garden - and we're being demoed the game by a particularly enthusiastic member of the development team (who must be genuine because she's not American, so can't have that happy spaniel-like positive gene they all seem to possess), or perhaps because Zubo seems to be something a bit different for DS, actually we're hooked.
What is Zubo, you're probably asking?
Well, all we knew about it before playing was it's the great new hope of EA's Bright Light Studio - an original game designed just for DS and aimed at 7-11 year olds. It takes place in the world of Zubalon, features 55 of its collectable Zubo inhabitants and battling evil Zombos (bad, cloned Zubos), and the main action takes place to the rhythm of a musical beat - which makes it sound a bit like a cross between Pokémon, Viva Piñata and Patapon.
And actually that's not a bad description.
As for what you get up to in Zubo, the game's split into two distinctive parts - exploration and battling.
So having chosen your in-game avatar, which can be either male or female, you wander around different areas, tapping on objects to interact with them and talking to characters to pick up tasks.
This is also where you find the Zubos themselves. They all have distinctive personalities, of course - princesses, pirates, cowboys and so on - and they're really quite cute, looking like colourful little bullet-shaped Lego characters. (Incidentally, to throw another game comparison into the mix, the animation style and humour of Zubo definitely has a similar feel to the LEGO Star Wars series.)
There are three main zones to explore, each of which has its end boss - Ice Head, Sleepy Head and, the overall big baddie, Big Head - while there are plenty of different themed areas within these worlds too. We saw Pop, Pirate, Horror, Robot, Fairytale and Wild West areas, and each has appropriately designed characters and missions. In the Pirate level, for instance, we had to dig for treasure, find a character's lost sword and answer multiple choose questions that tested our pirate skills.
As you move around these environments, you'll get the opportunity to collect Zubos. At any point, you can have up to three of them selected from your overall collection following you around. They act as your battle team and as all Zubos are divided into three types: Fighters, Defenders and Performers, it's always best to have a bit of a selection.
This brings us onto the combat part of the game, which is where Zubo really shines.
Walk up to a Zombo (the bad, cloned Zubos, you remember) and you'll go into a special battle screen. Here you can tap on each of your Zubos, view their stats and health and decide which of their moves to unleash on your opponent.
Once you've picked from the range available - you can do all sorts of comedy moves from karate kicks to rock outs, evolution powerups or even farts - your character pounces on the enemy and it's up to you to hit the touchscreen in time with the special combat music and the outline which pulses around the enemy. Tap too early or too late and your move will have less effect.
Battling also provides the main multiplayer mode, where you'll be able to fight your team of Zubos against other people's teams, but unlike Pokémon you won't be able to swap characters.
So despite being a decade older than the game's target audience (21 again eh Kath? - Ed), it's clear Zubo's shaping up to be a lot of fun. As well as a game that's been designed specifically for kids and the DS, like Pokémon and Vina Piñata, we think it could appeal to be much wider group of gamers.
And we'll certainly be coming back to find out more about Zubo as its September release date approaches. Click 'Track It!' keep updated with further news.