Few games are as fun as they are educational, but when such a game comes along you know it will be a keeper. Such was the case with Crazy Gears, a new app from Seven Academy, where kids manipulate gears, chains, rods, and pulleys through 60 carefully crafted levels. As kids work on solving the puzzles, they also learn how different mechanisms work.
Get Into Gear
The goal of the game is to connect gears, chains, rods, and pulleys to “pull” yourself to the next level. The app doesn’t provide explicit instructions on what to do, so players must figure out how things work through trial and error. For example, in the first level they will learn that attaching a chain to a spinning wheel will cause the object connected to the other end of the chain to move. Similarly, later they will learn that when gears are connected together, they affect one another’s movement.
The levels are designed to be increasingly difficult, with more components introduced over time. The first few levels are fairly straightforward, but latter levels may have several possible solutions. It is also possible to find solutions that involve fewer components than provided, so the tricky part is figuring out which components to use and which ones to leave out.
Parents Need to Know
The design of Crazy Gears is based on the theories of mathematician, computer scientist, and educator Seymour Papert. The aim is to help kids understand the physical properties of mechanisms found in their everyday lives, including complex notions such as tension, motion, and gravity. The recommended age range for the app is 5-9 years old.
The app includes a secured Grown-Ups corner, where you can monitor your child’s progress. From this section you can also set up multiple child profiles (a free grown-ups account is required), reset the game, submit your comments, and view the developer’s other apps. A well-written 33-page Parent and Teacher Handbook provides details of the game’s concept, the tools used in the game, and scientific concepts to discuss with your kids along with links to related resources.
Crazy Gears requires no Internet access to play. It has no ads and no in-app purchases. It supports multiple languages including Danish, French, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, and Spanish. It is available for iPhone and iPad.
Things I Like
Crazy Gears features puzzles that are simple in design yet challenging enough to solve. The lack of explicit instructions allows players to approach each problem as they see fit. It’s an interesting way to find out about your child’s way of thinking, as well as to help them develop creative problem-solving skills.
The app has a minimalist user interface that lets players focus on the puzzle at hand. Objects are brightly colored against a contrasting background to make them easy to spot, and moving objects have realistic sound effects. They can also be moved with ease, and will snap into place with a satisfying click. The interaction is seamless; each level that has been “pulled in” can be immediately played.
A suggestion for improvement is to include hints that kids can access in case they get completely stuck on a puzzle. It would also be nice if we could choose a specific level to replay. Finally, more levels would be a welcome addition!
A fascinating puzzle game where kids must use their reasoning and problem-solving skills to manipulate colorful gears, chains, rods, and pulleys. As kids play through 60 increasingly complex levels, they will learn how different mechanisms affect one another in simple machines. It’s a fun way to get kids interested in STEM topics, especially mechanical systems. Recommended for ages 5-9.
App was provided for our honest review.