Dora Links is a completely interactive doll, that when hooked up to a PC and the Internet, users can enter Dora's online world and help her solve mysteries, clean up her community and interact with her friends. As they change Dora's appearance online, the doll itself changes as well -- speech, hair, makeup, eyes and jewelry can all be transformed. Even when the doll isn't hooked up to the computer, she can still alert her "owner" when new content is available on the site.
To be clear, the product itself is a doll, but in order to get the full experience, it must be hooked up to a computer. The doll is part one, the second part and the whole point of the doll is the online community that your child participates in.
Although this doll may appeal to younger children, it's probably most appropriate for those kids ages 5-10, just because of the level of play and interactivity available on the website.
The first time you enter Dora's online world, she'll take you through a mini tutorial, including how to read 'D-Mail', as well as a tour of the town, meeting some of her friends and learning how to use the various tools. It's incredibly kid-friendly -- the words Dora says aloud are also written on screen. She speaks slowly and clearly, alternating between talking on the computer and through the doll itself which is pretty neat. The animation on the site is bright and colorful and Dora's world is pretty easy to navigate. And in the fashion we've come to know and love, she speaks in both English and Spanish, gently teaching kids new phrases and words.
There are a few different ways to change Dora's appearance. You can go to the salon to change her hair length (onscreen and off) and style (onscreen only). At the vanity in her bedroom, Dora can change her earrings and necklace color (onscreen and off) and style (onscreen only). To change her eye color and makeup, Dora needs to apply a disguise at the cafe.
Although the game is online, it's a closed community so even though your child is "interacting" there is no one on the other end, it's just fictional characters. There is a lot to see and do -- Dora can solve mysteries, but she can also go around the town, exploring all there is to see and do.
When the doll is not attached to the computer, she still talks, letting you know when the site has been updated. As of right now, Mattel has said they will update the site through 2010.