Back in the halcyon days of the 80s and 90s, educational games would almost always receive a frosty reception from the press.

The reasons for this are obvious now; game reviewers back then were almost always young, opinionated hardcore gamers – they almost never took the time to think about reviewing educational games from the point of view of the target audience and instead, often tried covering them as if they were bog standard games.

Which is incredibly daft, really. Of course a title such as ABC Follow Me: Food Festival isn’t going to provide much entertainment for me or be worthy of my time, but that’s because it simply isn’t for me.

And that’s ok. It’s a pretty single minded title that does what it sets out to do pretty well.

Which is to teach younger kids how to write letters and numbers, with straightforward patterns to follow for each letter of the alphabet, as well as ten separate digits to teach them how to write numbers too.

Not only that, but its food-based theme offers up three different settings – a Bakery, Market and Restaurant – with the names of food matching each of the establishments, all needing to be spelled out.

Players are rewarded with one to three stars based on the speed that they complete words – and the timing is very generous, so much so that it shouldn’t be too difficult for even the youngest of gamers to collect all of the stars.

Each word is spoken when completed too, which helps with pronunciation. There’s a few things that are a bit off for non-US players; along with the slightly different pronunciation of some words, a few items aren’t quite named the way we would refer to them as in the UK.

Likewise for the letter ‘Z’, as another example – in the UK, we of course say this as ‘zed’, but the game only says ‘zee’.

It also insists upon following specific patterns for letters or numbers that may not be taught quite the same way in school (the lower case ‘g’ being a good example), which is something else that parents should be aware of.

Though not a complete deal-breaker, these few issues do mean that the game may cause a little confusion at times for its target audience.

There’s a great option which allows players to enter their own word to spell; of course, this means they can enter their own name and practice writing it, which is really useful.

Due to the nature of the game needing players to utilise the touchscreen in writing each individual letter or number, naturally ABC Follow Me: Food Festival can only be played handheld, but this shouldn’t be an issue for most families, especially as the visuals are charmingly designed, very clear and colourfully presented.

It’s a great tool to get children learning and doing something a little more productive than usual with the Switch, but its value will of course depend entirely on how young your young gamers happen to be.

ABC Follow Me: Food Festival is out now for Nintendo Switch. Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a code for review purposes.

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