Learning the basics of mathematics is a must for everyone early on in life. However, mastering these necessary skills isn’t always the easiest of tasks for young children. While some pick up on how to form and solve equations right away, others need plenty of practice, as it does indeed make perfect.
For those looking for a new, more challenging way to not only test their mathematical prowess, but their ability to form equations as well, Alien Equation by Funner Labs, offers an interactive interface that is both fun and informative. Designed to improve one’s fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, Alien Equation offers beginner, expert and practice levels so kids can develop at their own pace, also allowing adults to test their knowledge and keep their minds sharp.
According to Alien Equation’s description, you are on an interstellar spaceship when your navigation computer contracts a virus (either sticky flu or a parasite, which will factor into game play down the line). Your computer reverts to the intelligence of a 3-year-old and only you can save yourself from being stranded on a planet full of hairless apes by creating enough equations to get your ship moving again.
Navi (not to be confused with the Nav’i race in James Cameron’s Avatar) guides users at the start, explaining the process and remaining in the top right corner in case users wish to pause or exit the game during playtime. Using a 6×6, 7×7 or 8×8 grid, users must arrange number tiles around the various ‘=’ tiles, while using the dark blue operator tiles (+, -, x, ÷) to create equations. All dark blue operator tiles must be eliminated in order to move to the next level. Simply touch the tiles and slide up and down or side to side. Any that go off the edge neatly wrap around to the other side of the board.
Equations can only be formed horizontally, read from left to right, and vertically, read from top to bottom. Each user can develop their own personal profile within the game in order to keep track of their individual progress. Alien Equation also claims that it picks up on each player’s own capabilities, while giving them the nudge to try new things every once in a while. With such a gradual way of adding new challenges, kids can learn at their own pace and improve their skills while having fun at the same time.
The best way for children to learn is to not feel like they are being forced to retain all the information thrown at them in a given day. With a playful alternative such as Alien Equation, kids can mix an already entertaining concept – aliens – with the learning necessary for a child’s advancement and education.
Other characteristics that stand out are Alien Equation’s ability to resume the same game even if you have chosen to exit and the option to listen to either your iPod music or just the game’s sound effects during game play.
Alien Equation requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.