Archive for February, 2010

MangaHigh: Algebra Meltdown


Algebra Meltdown is a fun math game in which the player solves linear equations to guide atoms through a nuclear reactor. You have been hired by Lissaman Industries to work on one of its dangerous black-ops research projects. Your job as a new controller is to fulfill the requests of the scientists waiting at the Generator’s outlets. Each scientist will request a certain atom, which you create by solving linear equations, then guiding ‘raw’ atoms through the Generator’s labyrinth of machines and tubes to the appropriate requester.

I played a few of the algebra games I found on the web, in an effort to establish a context for what the MangaHigh team achieved with Algebra Meltdown. The thing that struck me immediately was that most of the algebra games are terribly simplistic in terms of game play, so much so that sometimes the game play is derived from some bolted on activity. In contrast, Algebra Meltdown is real game with a serious algebra curriculum as its underpinnings.

The game play has complications beyond the equations themselves… You have to be quick and give the rather impatient scientists what they need. If you take too long in fulfilling a request, the scientist will storm off. If you frustrate too many scientists, you will be terminated. So, the clock is ticking… tick-tock, tick-tock. The other complication is managing the gates, on any given reactor, that deliver an atoms to a specific outlet. You might solve the desired equation, but route it improperly.

The pace of Algebra Meltdown is quite good and it some how avoids that “math test” feel. It doesn’t take too long before you start to feel the pressure created by the demands of the scientist and managing multiple requests. The quality of the game design really does shine through, inasmuch as the curriculum is woven into the very fabric of the game.

Once again, I have to say, “Bravo!” to the MangaHigh team.

Timez Attack

I was in the midst of preparing to write a rather synoptic review of  Timez Attack, by installing and playing the game. After I’d successfully installed the game and had started to play, the on-screen activity caught my daughter’s eye (even though she doesn’t care for dungeon games).

She asked in her sing-song way, “Papa… Whatcha doin’?”

I responded, “I’m trying to play a game called Timez Attack.”

Without missing a beat she asked, “What kind of game is this?” Read the rest of this entry »

Timez Attack

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