Using games to teach math is not an entirely new concept for us, but we’re always surprised by how well developers can accomplish it in their apps. A fine example is Twelve a Dozen, a unique platform game filled with arithmetic puzzles. We also love Motion Math: Pizza, which allows kids to learn economics and mental calculations by running their own pizzeria, and DragonBox Algebra 5+, a card game that teaches the basics of algebra for kids and adults.
Today, we have a new app from iMagine Machine, called The Land of Venn - Geometrical Defense. It’s a challenging defense game where kids wield the power of geometry to prevent evil monsters from destroying the Land of Venn.
Wield the Power of Geometry
The magical Land of Venn is under attack by Bookkenriders, little monsters sent by the evil Apeirogon to drink from the magic pools and destroy the land. Kids defeat these monsters by connecting them to make dots, lines, and shapes. The goal is to eliminate all monsters before they can reach the magic pool and drink all the juice.
The challenge is to draw as efficiently as possible as monsters come from different directions. Sometimes, kids must wait for the monsters to line up just right so they can draw the most powerful geometric shape. Another factor to consider is stronger monsters that don’t die immediately, so kids must recombine them into new geometric shapes.
As kids defeat the Bookkenriders, they collect Victory points to buy spells at the Wizard Wall. There are 16 spells that can come in handy when the map is crawling with foes — one spell refills the magic pool, another summons flames to vaporize baddies. Kids can only carry up to four spells at a time, so they must plan accordingly.
The app has 30 progressive levels that span over three wacky worlds. The final level of each world introduces a boss battle, after which there is a quick comprehension quiz to unlock the next world.
Parents Need to Know
The Land of Venn is aligned to Common Core Standards. It also deals with Van Hiele’s Levels of Geometric Thought, a theory that describes how students learn geometry. It involves five hierarchical levels of thinking that students go through from merely recognizing a figure to being able to write a formal geometric proof.
Specifically, the app deals with levels 2 through 3, informal deduction and deduction. At these levels, students are able to perceive relationships among the properties of figures and relationships among shapes. They can, for example, deduce that if all four angles are right angles then the shape must be a rectangle.
Over 30 levels, kids will learn to draw 13 geometric shapes in order: point, line, open shape, triangle, isosceles triangle, equilateral triangle, right triangle, quadrilateral, trapezoid, parallelogram, rectangle, rhombus, and square.
A hands-on tutorial shows kids how to draw the shapes around the monsters before diving into the level. The app reinforces learning by announcing the same drawn in a silly voice. It also rewards kids with trophies for every new shape.
Before purchasing the game, do note that it is fast-paced. Younger kids may feel overwhelmed by all the actions happening on the screen. For such reasons, we think the app is better suited for kids grades 1 through 4, and possibly older.
The app doesn’t contain ads and in-app purchases.
Things I Like
Math games can be clumsy and feel like a drill instead of an actual game, but it’s not the case with The Land of Venn. In fact, the app is designed to be a game first and foremost. Learning is then seamlessly integrated with gameplay. The result is a polished, addictive gaming experience that even adults would enjoy.
It’s likely that you’ll fail more than once, but it only serves to hone your understanding of the geometric theorems. It also challenges you to learn from your mistakes and come up with better strategies next time.
I like app’s visual style — kooky, colorful, and bold, it looks like art from the 60s. The characters are no less than amusing, the soundtrack is groovy, and the narrator is crazy in a mad genius kind of way. My only complaint is that the screeching sound effects do get on your nerves after a while, so it would be nice if the app had an option to turn it off.
(Update: the developer contacted us to mention that the app did include mute buttons for the music and sound effects. They are located on the pause screen and also on the main screen. We’re terribly sorry for the mix-up!)
The Land of Venn - Geometric Defense is a fast-paced defense game that’s also an effective way to learn math. By drawing various geometric shapes, kids defeat evil monsters and save a magical land. Quirky visual style set the app apart from similar apps in its category. A seriously fun treat for ages six and up.
App was provided for our honest review.