Adapting movies into games is generally akin to stuffing a square peg into a round hole, so in that light, the creators of Curious George had a exceptionally easy assignment: Make a platform game around a creature that specializes in jumping, swinging, and climbing. Round peg, round hole, right? Because the game is aimed at the thumb-sucking set, it can't be too complicated, but that doesn't excuse a dearth of imagination, either, especially when the source material opens up so many opportunities for creative mischief. Curious George takes the path of least resistance, providing a bright, functional distraction for the afternoon it would take for a cross-eyed, uncoordinated tyke to finish it.

Following a trail of bananas that stretches into infinity, you catch up with the lovable simian when he first spots The Man With The Yellow Hat in the African jungle, searching for a lost artifact to bring back to his museum. From there, you'll do anything to be by your affable master's side, whether that means swinging on vines, double-jumping over crevasses, shimmying through vents, or searching for a key to start a forklift for some reason. As you travel from Africa to the Big City and back, you're mostly asked to climb various obstacles (construction sites, museum exhibits, unnavigable jungle terrain) and entertain children and sailors with a little breakdancing. Along the way, you pick up bananas and earn "curious points" for doing mischievous things, like rifling through luggage or flipping on a record player, which again offers impromptu breakdancing opportunities.

Beyond the game: All those bananas and curious points ain't for nothing, kids: Accumulate enough of them, and you can unlock dazzling bonus features, like parts of the game you've already played, or footage of bit-part voice actors!


Worth playing for: Curious George is the sweetest of children's-book icons, and since all kids of the animal kingdom seek approval, it's especially satisfying to make your master happy. When you're ready to give up on jumping from one water-slickened platform to another, those shouts of encouragement keep you going.

Frustration sets in when: Ever try getting across a village by leaping from one sombrero to another without touching the ground? Not as easy as it sounds.

Final judgment: When you win Curious George, the game just ends. No celebration. No fanfare. It's as if the creators are acknowledging that nothing much has been accomplished.