Bottom line: the speed and strategy needed to clear all levels in this game are enough to give young brains a fun workout even if the math isn't really much of a challenge. Free to try!
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Lola might be the progeny of Onassis as she seems to have amassed her own growing holdings in railroads and shipping. BeiZ Ltd.'s latest app to feature this furry girl panda is Lola's Math Ship. There's no union on this pier so little dock hands better be prepared to work quickly to make sure all crates get loaded in the proper ship.
The app has three modes - easy, medium and hard. Each mode has 12 levels so it takes some time to work through all the crates. It doesn't help of course that the wharf is in poor repair with gaping holes along some of the loading lanes which require quick adjustments in order to keep valuable cargo from swimming with the fishes or being left to rot on the docks.
The verbal instructions are fairly minimal. Longshoremen are told to put the cargo in the correct ship's hold and to watch out for the hungry octopus. It took me several times through before I got the hang of things as I wasn't aware that fish shouldn't go in the ships and I didn't know how to avoid the octopus. Essentially what happens is The Lola Express Train pulls up and starts offloading cargo. The boxes have to be slid across the dock to avoid holes and to put them in the right lane for their designated ship.
In the beginning, the only math needed is number recognition and 1:1 correspondence. Crates are marked with a numeral and must be matched to a ship with the same number. Other crates may show 1-3 pieces of fruit which indicate which is their proper ship. The next levels introduce addition, subtraction and finally multiplication and division. The problems even in the hardest level are easy low numbers, but it does take quick thinking to compute the answer, slide the crate around the gaps, and toss fish into the water all without losing the three lifelines each round gets.
There are also treasure chests thrown into the mix. If all three make it to the right ship, hard working little mates get a piece of treasure of their own. The treasure accumulates in a scene with Lola and some of her animal friends. They may be deep sea diving or enjoying the sun. The treasure can be moved around like a sticker but overall the treasures scenes aren't very interactive or interesting.
The game keeps score and shows how many treasure chests were successfully stored in each level. The easy and medium modes must be finished before the hardest mode unlocks. It's worth it to play through because the hard mode was fun and challenging. There are even more holes in the dock to shift crates around and it's fast. The math problems can be tricky due to the time pressure and they may switch from 2x4 to 4x2 which can trip up even the best math students.
If you are after a math app, this probably won't be what you are seeking. On the other hand, if solid edutainment for a variety of ages is high on your list, then give Lola's Math Ship some consideration.
Jill Goodman is looking forward to FCAT testing being over so she can return to being her usual ogre self which means no iPad time for kids. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.