SNAP Review – Narwhal Free for All
Everybody loves narwhals!
Narwhals are the unicorns of the sea, and I’ve been seeing cute cartoony ones on everything lately. And everyone knows narwhals live in the coldest parts of the ocean…
This is a SNAP Review for Narwhal Free For All, a cute water game from Mixlore. It plays 2-4 players, ages 5 and up. Elliot, who is 5 1/2, will tell you all about it… or you can read on below.
How to Play
First, set up the “ice arena”. Set up the paddle wheel and place it in its notch. Then fill the arena with water up to the “fill line” – but definitely not above the paddle wheel notch! Drop all four narwhals into the water, roughly equally apart. Also place the yellow fish (Elliot: “shark”) next to the paddle wheel.
One player will turn the paddle wheel to create a current, while the others use the “flipping stations” to try to flip their colored rings into the water.
Score points by flipping your rings onto the narwhals or the center iceberg. (1 point for a narwhal, 2 points for your OWN color narwhal, 3 points for the center.) You may pick up rings that didn’t land on any target and try again! Stop flipping when the fish floats all the way around to the paddle wheel again.
Then switch paddle-wheel operators; all players move one spot to the left. Note scores, retrieve your rings, and start a new round.
When every player has spent a round as the paddle-wheel operator, the game is over. The high score wins! Time to drain the water out…
Play without Water
The designers have thoughtfully included a way to play without water – the narwhals can slot into little notches at the bottom of the pool, with their horns pointing straight up. On the count of three, all players can begin flipping. Once all rings have been flipped, count the points.
I’m not a huge fan of water games – especially in the winter! Who wants that kind of mess inside?
But Narwhal Free for All won me over. We play it on a towel, and usually there’s not a lot of spilled water – unless the paddle-wheel operator gets overenthusiastic. If that’s the case, we can always drain out the water and play without it.
It’s really cute. The narwhals are adorable and the pastel colors help this game stand out from all the kids games full of bright primary colors.
Parents will appreciate the thoughtful design: there’s nowhere for water to get “stuck” (unlike some bath toys we’ve used), although you’ll be best served letting the arena air-dry for a few minutes or wiping it down before putting it away.
Putting it away is so much easier than I expected! The designers of the box have helpfully included an insert that covers the open hole in the box that was used to display the narwhal pieces when the game was brand-new. It’s easy to put it away and nothing gets lost.
Only one downside: the “fill line” mentioned in the instructions? It’s unclear where that is. We tried filling to the ledge inside the arena (about 3 cups), but that wasn’t even enough to get the narwhals to float. We use about 5 cups of water, which is still well below the top of the arena.
Narwhal Free for All is not a deeply involved game, even for young kids. But its cute, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, it’s easy to clean up, and it might be just the thing your kids need to keep them busy on yet another snow day this winter… or maybe that’s just me.
We ring 4.5 narwhals out of 5 for Narwhal Free for All – it’s probably a great choice for your 4- or 5-year-olds. Find it on Amazon or at your local toy store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Narwhal Free for All from Mixlore for this review.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Narwhal Free for All
Players: 2-4 (up to 3 without water)
Age Range: 5+
Playtime: 10-20 minutes