Just over a year ago I was contacted by a company called Makkajai about an upcoming maths game app that they were developing called Monster Math. I'll admit that initially I was less than eager to look at another maths game app (there's so many of them out there, they could probably take up their own wing of the App Store!) but the artwork that they sent me piqued my attention and I agreed to join the beta testing. I watched the game develop and continued to be impressed. Back then we were reviewing apps and I planned to review it upon launch. But I didn't.
I honestly can't trace the reason for not covering it on the site beyond the fact that from time to time, doing my job, having a family and trying to run this site gets somewhat overwhelming!
I'm telling you this for two reasons. Firstly I would like to apologise to Vin, Roopesh and the Makajai team. It's not often that I drop the ball (ask Luke or Sabba) but it bothers me when I find out that I have.
Secondly, it think it actually may have been fated - as Makkajai have now released the superior Monster Math 2 and the accompanying Monster Math Multiplayer - which I am now happily in a position to spotlight here on iPad Educators! So let's take a look...
Like it's predecessor, Monster Math 2 is an app that allows students to practise crucial rapid recall skills for the four basic operations. The gameplay is spread across four colourful worlds and is fast and furious. Take a look:
The artwork will be the first thing that catches your attention as it features some of the most vibrant and unique character designs I've seen on the iPad. The controls are simple to pick up and master and the range of levels provides sufficient depth.
So far, so good - but what elevates this above many other math game apps is the ability to stream and differentiate the content used within the game. You can select a curriculum level from Yr2 to Yr6 and still further customise by adding or removing objectives.It's also adaptive so it adjusts the difficulty from round to round based on the student's success rate. It will even generate a simple report for you to show how the student is doing in each area (and which they haven't tackled yet.)
Now, from the main menu you will see a link to Multiplayer but you do need to be aware that this is a completely separate app. Luckily both the story mode app and multiplayer one can be purcahsed independently so you can pick and choose what you wish to use. Both have free versions available on the App Store too so you can get a taste of the fun!
And the multiplayer sure is fun. Fast paced games like this thrive when players go head to head and the multiplayer app boasts the ability to square up against AI or human opponents. Human players can be selected from online or local networks and there's even the option for a neat splitscreen mode. Best of all, it allows for players using different curricula to compete at their own level - balancing the gameplay and keeping any match fair!
Would I recommend Monster Math 2?
It's enormous fun, offers skills progression, challenge and scaffolded support. It looks great, plays well and makes you want to improve. What's not to like?
I would perhaps have preferred to have the multiplayer fully integrated and I do appreciate that for some schools there could need to be a decision as to which to go with. Personally I'd be tempted to suggest the multiplayer one for class use and the single player to reinforce concepts at home. Of course having the multiplayer version at home could mean beating mum and dad at it... :)
If you want to find out more about the Monster Math apps (including the original version mentioned at the start) then visit the Makkajai website.
All of the Monster Math apps can be downloaded from iTunes here.