In Marble Math, kids solve mental math problems by manuevering, via touch or tilt, a marble around a maze/obstacle course.
On the level I am testing now I am asked to "collect numbers to add up to 98," and the board has five numbers (45, 12, 86, 35, 56), so I need to move/roll my cool-blue marble over the 12 and 86 and then move it to a landing spot that pops open after I roll over the appropriate numbers. There are obstacles/power-ups around the board as well, including a rubber duck that knocks the marble off course, a drain in which the marble can fall (that flushes) and a ghost that lets you move through walls to get where you need to go more easily.
* The app feels and works very well. The marble animations are sharp. The tilt-to-move is slick, and I enjoyed it even though I generally don't like accelerometer apps.
* In good marble tradition, the player can choose from different kinds of marbles and collect more as they progress.
* There are settings as to whether to drag the marble or have it rolled by tilting the device (excellent for different levels of motor skill) and options to turn on and off the music and obstacles and bonuses.
* There are three levels, each with a list of certain types of math that can be turned on or off to focus, so the child can focus on certain topics if needed. For example, on level one the child can practice adding coins and notes up to $50 if you select only that option. They are all selected by default and can be set in any combination.
* The selectable subject list is extensive: adding/subtracting two digit numbers, multiplication, division, money, fractions, Roman numerals, factors, decimals and integers.
* The game keeps track of high scores per level and records initials, old-school style.
* The app costs just $1.99 which is a good price for an app of this quality.
* On levels that require an equation, if a child rolls over the wrong set of numbers, the app doesn't say that what they've done isn't correct and/or that the correct answer is not attainable. The end position just never opens and the child has to press the restart button to start again. They can see the correct answer when they press to restart the level, but it would be better, and a better learning moment, if the app notified the child in some way when they made the error and what it was.
As it is, in a fractions maze when the target is to "collect fractions to add up to 1" if the child rolls over 4/6 and then 4/6, the app displays 4/6+4/6=4/3 on the bottom but the level doesn't end or indicate that that answer is incorrect in any way. A nice pop-up with the correct answer displayed and an encouraging "try again" would be better.
* There is no timer, or an option for one, and I think the marble portion of the game is going to be a bit too easy for most who are able to do this kind of mental math. Fun, but easy. I'd add a really hard level and you might even get some parents into it.
I recommend Marble Math. It's a cool game idea and executed well, with a lot of different kinds of mental math included.
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Ron Engel, who can't remember most Roman numerals, completed this review. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.