One of the essential math skills that juniors should master is performing mental calculations. While counting with their fingers is a necessary skill to learn as well, in real life it is often less practical than calculating mentally.
Some of the learning tools that can be helpful in honing mental math skills are math sheets and flashcards. But honestly, they are not necessarily exciting. Thankfully, juniors these days have access to various apps that can make the learning experience less strenuous. In fact, many apps try to innovate by adding gaming elements into the mix.
Remember Number Run? It is a great educational app that cleverly disguises math practice as a fun endless runner. Today, I have a new app that I think is just as exciting as Number Run -- say hello to Bugsy in Math Kingdom.
Bugsy in Math Kingdom by Peapod Labs is a math drill game for mastering basic addition and subtraction operations. In this fun educational app-slash-game, your juniors follow Bugsy the Hamster as he goes on a math-filled journey to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend, Daisy.
all some heroes, the road that leads Bugsy to his hamster in distress is filled with mean monsters who send math problems flying at him. It is your juniors' task to help him move past these baddies by typing in the correct answer using the numbered buttons at the bottom of the screen.
The Math Kingdom is divided into two stages that represent the two mathematical operations supported by the game, i.e., addition and subtraction. Each stage is further divided into 6 levels with their own distinctive landscapes and enemies. Each level also has a boss battle in the end, where juniors must answer five questions correctly in order to pass. In total, there are 12 fun-filled math levels to play with.
At the beginning of each level, your juniors are given two hearts that represent their lives in the game. They get an additional heart every several questions or when they solve a bonus problem that appears several times in each level.
On the other hand, there are no penalties for incorrect answers. Rather, the unsolved problem will simply continue flying in Bugsy's direction until it is answered correctly or it hits him and decreases his heart by one. Once all hearts are gone, the game is over and your juniors must replay the level from the beginning.
An interesting thing to note is that the number of hearts that your juniors have also determines Bugsy's costume. When your juniors have two hearts, Bugsy will wear a down-to-earth, "homemade"-style armor with a cooking pot for a helmet. Four hearts earn him a stylish green hem and a feathered hat similar to Robin Hood's, while five hearts or more earn him a shiny knight costume. Finally, when your juniors are down to one heart, Bugsy will lose his clothes except for his red boots.
Depending on your juniors' performance, the app will reward them with a badge at the end of a level. The costume that Bugsy wears at the end of a level reflects the badge that your juniors earned -- the homemade armor equals a Bronze badge, the Robin Hood getup equals a Silver, while the shiny knight's armor equals a Gold.
What parents need to know
Bugsy in Math Kingdom is a educational math app/game that attempts to provide your juniors with a fun learning aid to hone their mental math skills. Geared at kids aged 5+, the app includes basic addition or subtraction up to 99.
The app comes with two difficulty levels -- Easy or Hard. The difference is that in the latter, your juniors are required to perform inverse operations. Depending on your juniors' progress, you can choose the difficulty level by tapping on Bugsy while in Home screen.
An interesting feature of the app is the ability to view your juniors' progress in a dedicated Parents Zone. The app records their last attempts for each level of the game and shows you how many answers they got right or wrong. To view this report, simply tap on the small gear icon in the Home screen. As a security measure, you will need to do a reverse pinch gesture to unlock the Parents Zone.
What I like about the app
Bugsy in Math Kingdom is a polished app that educates and entertains. The game flows smoothly and the mechanics work really well. I like that the game paces slow enough to give juniors enough time to think but not too slow to be boring. There is also a gradual increase in difficulty in each level that keeps the game challenging. The Boss Battle at the end of every level is also a great touch to keep juniors engaged.
I also like that the app includes an option to set the number of number of problems that juniors must solve before gaining an extra heart. However, I would suggest that developers also allow parents to set the number of problems in a level as I think it is more beneficial that way.
Design-wise, the app is bright and colorful with cute characters. I like that each level has a unique theme -- it is always a pleasure to guess what the next level would be like and it keeps juniors coming back for more. The animations and sound effects are cute as well.
Bugsy in Math Kingdom is a great app with a fun gameplay. There are some areas in the app that could be improved but overall, it would make a fine addition to your collection.