CONCEPT: A highly engaging, superhero themed mental maths game.
DELIVERY: Is it just me or does the App Store get more and more maths game apps than anything else? In a marketplace full to bursting, it's nice then to come across one that is genuinely well developed, full of options and totally engrossing. I've actually paused my latest game to write this!
So what makes it so special besides the superhero theme? The presentation is excellent with some fantastic artwork (I showed it my class today and this was the first comment I got from them too) and slick animation. The game itself is also a great idea. It reminds me of an old IWB game called Tiles that I used to love playing with my classes. The idea is that a set of target numbers are attached to various colourful villains and you combine numbered heroes to match the totals and defeat them.
There are a couple of really neat twists though. First, you design each of your set of heroes by spinning a three part slots style machine. Exam part of them is given a value towards their total. You can elect to respin all or part of them up to three times and check out the game arid as you do to ensure that you get the best chance of a useful number hero. But wait there's more - every third turn you get to claim power ups instead using a similar spinner. These can be multipliers or addition and subtraction bonuses. They can also be nothing so you have to choose wisely and you only get one respin for them! These little touches really bring the game to life and engage the user to think hard about the possible solutions.
Then there are the options. In my opinion this is where a lot of educational games fall down as they don't offer enough scope for various levels of player ability. Not here though as there are five difficulty levels, moving from simple totals through into negatives, as well as customisation within them to refine further. Players can also elect to freely access hints or pay for them (they show potential targets based on what heroes you have) as well as activating a timer if desired.
Then there's multiplayer. Yep, this is one game that groups can play at the same time as up to four players can compete on the same board, trying to claim the target villains before their opponents. You can even add in AI bots if playing alone and looking for a challenge!
LIMITATIONS: I really thought hard about this and struggled to come up with much. The only thing I would say is that it may have been a good idea for the hero's total to be displayed rather than their 3 separate numbers as it can require you to recalculate their sum. Of course this does make it more of a challenge!
CONCLUSION: That special type of game that is genuinely engaging, challenging and relevant. I highly recommend it. 5/5
Developing mental math speed and recall
Examining variations in reaching totals
Problem solving and logic development
Gamification of lessons
As a part of cross-curricular work on heroes