"Totally serviceable" isn't exactly the highest praise you can give, but sometimes that's all a game needs to achieve.

eShop downloadable 35 Junior Games is a perfect example of this type of good-enough design. It's a largely competent collection of digital representations of physical games, and it's cheap enough to be an impulse purchase for younger minds.


You should know the score with this type of release by now: the developer has taken open-source game systems like Klondike, air hockey and Nim, and bundled them all together into one bumper family-friendly package.

35 games is a decent number, and there's very little repetition of game types to be found. It covers a broad spectrum of old skool pastimes, largely broken up into four categories: Board Games, Card Games, Action, and Puzzles.

Each has the usual offenders you'd expect, with Chess, Mahjongg, Klondike, Hearts, Darts, Pong, sliding puzzles, Sudoku, and more all making appearances.

For the most part, they're reasonably well-made, utilising the 3DS's touchscreen to good effect. For example, Kids' Pong has you moving the bat from left to right with the stylus. Though it features one of the tougher AI opponents, it's an otherwise child-friendly 3D rendition of the classic.

The rendition of Bejeweled is too slow for match-three fanatics, and darts is too inaccurate for those with a keen interest in the hobby, but nothing is broken - everything works as intended.

Simple to understand, with clear instructions shown before the game begins, it's a collection you can easily fire up and throw into the back of the car to entertain the little one in your life.

There's also a system of Golden Apples in place, so you can quickly find the most popular games in the collection for ease of setup.


But what all of these games are lacking is multiplayer. Tic-tac-toe is a classic example of this oversight - it's a two-player game by nature, so the lack of an option to pass-and-play is staggering.

That missing element comes as a shock, but what doesn't is the poor quality of presentation. There's no cohesion here, nor even really a theme - just an assortment of flowers, animals, geometric shapes, and primary colours.

The 3D is also squiffy, with blurred edges to objects on the periphery of the screen. The music is horrific and trite and repetitive in way that will cause parents of young children to scream in terror.

If you want 35 adequate games to entertain your kids on that upcoming trip to Bournemouth you've got planned, and they're too young for a Mario Kart or Pokemon, then this is an inexpensive bit of entertainment for the journey.

Just don't expect it to hold anybody's interest much longer than that.