Bluey’s worldwide popularity has exploded in recent years, in a case of perfect timing that has aligned with me having a child of my own. There are times when I feel like I’m enjoying the show as much as they are, if not a little more. It was only going to be a matter of time until the Heelers made a splash in the video game world, and my only hope after watching the first trailer for Bluey’s inevitable debut game was that it wouldn’t be a simplistic paint-by-numbers kids game.
Having now had the chance to play Bluey: The Videogame alongside my four-year-old son, I can confirm it is definitely not that. I trusted it wouldn’t be since it’s published by the same studio as the pretty great Peppa Pig: World Adventures, but more importantly because well, it’s Bluey. The team behind the TV show doesn’t do anything by halves, and that applies to the show’s first video game too.
Even though my son enjoyed World Adventures, I expected more from a Bluey game than I did a Peppa one. Not only because he’s developed a surprising amount since then – they really do grow up so fast – but because again, it’s Bluey. No offense Peppa, but the Australian dog and her lovable family has taken the kids TV crown that you’ve been hogging for a very long time, and Bluey’s first game is only going to put more daylight between the two animated animals.
Sandbox Over Story
The team behind Bluey has been proudly parading the game as an interactive sandbox adventure, and there’s no questioning that description. Me and my son only had the chance to mess around in a couple of areas – the house and the park – but those two levels comfortably occupied all of the time we had at a recent preview. My pre-school associate joining the queue to have his photo taken with Bluey herself on three occasions did eat into our game time a little, but I’m still not sure we’d have left the two areas we explored since there was so much to do in each.
The game has a loose story, but it doesn’t appear to do much more than connect one area to another, and it doesn’t need to. Outside of it introducing new characters outside of the four playable ones, my son was more interested in getting past the cutscenes so he could get back to exploring. Unlike other games for little kids we’ve played together, Bluey truly gives you reasons to properly explore, and big open areas to run around and find things in. There are stickers to find in every area and despite hunting down quite a few, we came nowhere close to completing either of the areas, and there appear to be four in total.
Pulling Elements From The Show
The games you can play within the game are the best thing about it, though. You kick things off with a few rounds of Keepy Uppy, a game my son insists we play at home on an almost daily basis thanks to the show. Inflate a balloon and do your best to make sure it doesn’t touch the ground. There are baskets dotted around every area with balloons and other toys to play with. My son was a big fan of the football, particularly kicking it at whichever character I had chosen — an activity I can confirm he enjoys in real life too, but not one I encourage him to play in the house.
Bluey: The Videogame is launching on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC, and you can pre-order a copy right now ahead of its release on November 17, 2023.
Pulling elements like Keepy Uppy directly out of the show are what the Bluey game does best, largely because it pulls them off without making you feel as if you’re passively playing through episodes you’ve seen hundreds of times before. There was a moment when my son, while playing as Bluey, had to try and retrieve the sticky lizard from the ceiling. It’s something that happens in an episode of the show, and I could see his face light up when he realized what was happening and that it was his job to find a solution.
What About The Grown-Ups?
I’ve spent most of this preview writing about how much my son enjoyed playing the game, but I loved it too. No, it’s not a game I’m going to sit down and play by myself, but it’s absolutely one I’ll be excited to play whenever my son asks me to join him. His excitement when he spotted the sparkle that indicates there’s a sticker to be found was contagious, and the connections to the show pulled me in almost as much as they did him.
I feared he’d get bored after ten minutes or so with Bluey, since he’s graduated to playing Mario and Kirby games since his last Peppa Pig adventure, but that didn’t happen. Much like the Bluey photo op, the only thing that pulled him away from the game when the event ended was the promise of a Bluey cupcake waiting for him on the way out. That we weren’t forced into following a story and were instead left to create our own adventure was a huge part of what drew both of us in. It felt like we were directing our own Bluey episode, and that’s what will put it a cut above most other games based on toddler TV shows when it launches on all major platforms on November 17.
Bluey: The Videogame
Bluey is finally getting her very own video game. The star of the Australian kids’ show and the rest of her family will be playable characters in Bluey: The Videogame, available on various consoles from November 17, 2023.