Math Evolve combines old-school arcade shooter gameplay (for classic gamers think Xevious) with mental math. While avoiding and shooting aliens, children build math problems at the top of the screen by running their ship into numbers. Sometimes there is just one digit to fill in and sometimes the player has to fill in all three.
For example, practicing addition, the app presents 1+4=? and the child has to move their on-screen counterpart (a good alien, whose homeworld is under attack) over the number five. Later, the player would be presented with ?+?=? and move over the number eight and then the number four (8+4) and then have to find and maneuver over the number 12...all while avoiding aliens shooting at them.
The settings can be altered to choose operations in use (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or all the above) and the math (easy, medium, hard) and game (beginner, advanced, expert) difficulties. The player doesn't lose a man as soon as they are hit by something either...it takes quite a few hits, which is excellent since we don't want a fledgling math student to get discouraged quickly.
These sorts of apps, that try to combine real gameplay with learning are often too difficult on the gaming end and have been very intimidating to my kids, but Math Evolve's options allow it to start out rather simply, allowing kids to get a feel for the game before it turns into a real challenge.
There are two modes of play: story mode and practice mode.
In story mode, children go through 12 levels in three unique environments: microscopic, ocean, and space, solving math problems, avoiding aliens, and even battling bosses! For those of you who haven't spent the wee hours of the morning playing video games until your eyes go cross and you pass out (that's right ladies...drool away), bosses are generally large, difficult characters who must be defeated before moving on to the next level.
The app’s practice mode provides a simpler, more tailored experience, as the player (or parent/teacher) can select the range of numbers to be used and the number of questions to be completed, in addition to the types of math used. There are no aliens shooting at the player in practice mode and the problems just need an answer, which is also a nice way to get a child who might be a bit scared of the app at first, to give it a try.
The game saves users and their stats...a lot of stats actually, under a player history section. There is also a free trial.
The aspect of Math Evolve that really separates it from similar games is the gameplay. It's smooth, the child doesn't have to tilt the screen to move around (I don't like that in an educational app...or any app actually), and it really has the look and feel of an old-school arcade game.
I don't think this app is for everyone because it combines a lot of hand-eye coordination and quick mental math skills...but this is a really well-done app that does a great job of mixing education and game.
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