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?”

I explained to her that Timez Attack is math video game software, focused solely on teaching times tables. Then  I told her the back story… Prince Scratch, the little green guy, has been kidnapped from his home world and imprisoned in bowels of the dungeon of Ignoruntz. The only way for him to escape is to master his times tables.

She hopped in my lap and said, “Papa you steer and I’ll make him go!”

I agreed, so long as she would actually solve a few problems. So, for the next ten minutes or so we played Timez Attack.

The next day I asked her to solve to the problems she had solved during the game, and to my surprise she answered correctly… I was taken aback by this. If a 1st grader who is not in the least interested in dungeon games can learn this quickly what does this mean for students who are bored, have learning challenges, or have ADD?

Timez Attack is atypical of the traditional educational fare, in that it is a real video game, made by a real game development company. So, the quality of the graphics are on the order of Doom, Quake, or HalfLife, and game play is excellent, but there is always room for improvement (I’ll touch on that in my conclusion).

I can say without reservation that Timez Attack is indeed educational as well as being a fun math game.

Each level teaches one times table (using visual and auditory input along with a bit of repetition), starting with the two times table and ending with the twelve times table (omitting the level for the ten times table).

Every level is divided into four check points each, so after acquiring three keys (having answered twelve equations to do so) the player will encounter a checkpoint “boss monster” that will present a challenge of nine multiplication problems. At the end of the level there is a “boss monster” that will quiz the player on all of the equations for that level (1 – 12).
If the level is played without making an error a minimum of 96 multiplication problems will have been solved.

Here’s the breakdown:
1 equations per door * 12 doors = 12
3 equations per door “boss monster” * 12 doors = 36
9 equations per checkpoint “boss monster” * 4 checkpoints = 36
Questions in the Level quiz = 12

Try It For Yourself!
Timez Attack is actually a freemium offering, that is to say, you can download it and try it for yourself, free of charge. The free version has all of the educational value of the paid version, however it doesn’t include the the cool Lava World and the Mechanized World.

That said, if you can afford to purchase the paid version I strongly suggest you do so.

If you can download Timez Attack, and experience it for yourself, you needn’t read my attempt to describe what one sees on screen, so please skip to the conclusion.

If You Couldn’t Download Timez Attack… Read This
The context for what I’m about to say is the Timez Attack dungeon world, simply because everyone can see and experience that environment.

Equations are presented when Scratch either touches a key or is in proximity of a door. When presented, the equation appears on the left door, while on the right door there are a number of squares equivalent to multiplication table being worked on (2 – 12). For instance, your child or student is working his/her way through the 5s time tables and arrive at a door that displays 6 x 5 as the equations on the left door.

The right door will display 5 “squares” containing 6 circles each. A second or so after the equation and squares appear, the squares contract and eject energy balls, then return to their original size, however circles within the squares will be darkened. The ejected energy balls will roll about and in a couple of seconds they will transform into giant toothy snails.

Scratch has to run about and touch the snails (transforming them back into energy balls), as he touches each snail you will hear a little girls voice skip-counting, 6, 12 18, 24, 30 as that number rises from where the snail stood (essentially giving the answer to the equation at hand).

Scratch must hit the doors with the energy balls and as he does so, you will hear the littel girl’s voice, skip counting once more… 6, 12 18, 24, 30 (this reinforces the answer to the current equation). After all of the energy balls have successfully hit the doors, you will be able to solve the equation by entering numbers using the keyboard. Once the equation has been solved the doors will open and the “boss monster” will emerge and confront Scratch. The monster will only be defeated if you can solve the equations that appear on his ample belly.

Conclusion: How Could It Be Better?
There is little that differentiates the levels of the dungeon. Creating a visual difference between the levels would be an improvement. Additionally as one masters the times tables the speed at which one can solve the equations becomes more important, but there is no timer one can engage.

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