MathRider is a really clever math facts game for learning and mastering addition, subtraction, multiplication and division all in the one game.
It’s hard to pick what I like best – the gorgeous riding environments or the game intelligence that continuously adjusts for the player’s skill level or the statistics matrix that shows you exactly where your child is at in terms of math mastery.
The game teaches all four number tables (addition to division), numbers 0 to 12.
Your character lives in the Kingdom of Ray and needs to ride on quests through the nearby (magical) MathLands.
The way this is done is very simple – you see your character riding his/her horse across 3d landscapes while obstacles with math questions keep coming at you from the right hand side of the screen. You need to enter the correct answer before your horse reaches the barrier.
The game measures the time you take for each question, how many attempts you need, wrong attempts, etc, and adjusts game speed and the questions given to the player accordingly.
Quests in MathRider
All riding is tied into storylines, (with the advanced and master level quests being a continuation of one another), where you need to fulfil a noble mission, like curing your sick mother or rescuing the princess. The stories are nicely illustrated and have some humour in it, too.
The quests are organized into difficulty levels, which govern the range of numbers that get practiced, and how many points are required to complete the quest. Animated maps show progress during each quest.
The quests are:
- Reach a glade in the enchanted forest to heal your mother
- Return a gem to the elven king
- Deliver an urgent message to the king
- Rescue the king’s daughter
Gameplay is real easy and 100% on mathematics practice. The controls could not be simpler, and the questions come at you at whatever speed you can handle them. Sometimes you find your eyes straying from the questions though, in order to take in some of the gorgeous landscapes that your rider is riding through.
By the end of a quest, you can be sure that your child has thoroughly practiced whatever mathematics is right for them in the chosen operation. Be it addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.
The cool thing: At the end of the quest the rider gets a reward, which from then on will populate the main screen. All rewards receive animation corresponding to the level of mastery accomplished during the quest. This makes quests nicely replayable and motivates the kids to keep practicing until they get to 100% mastery (at which point the animation clearly steps up another notch).
- altogether 5 really gorgeous fantasy landscapes
- intelligently hones in on what to practice
- no violence, instead the game embodies noble and positive values
- full of encouragement and rewards – any player will be able to complete the quests and get rewards
- no punishment for wrong answers – instead you get visible and audible feedback, plus a repeat of the question
- the final (master level) quest is a real highlight and the reward is cool!
- After a while, the quest stories become less relevant, because the game becomes a quest in itself, which is mastering whatever operation is being played
- Kids are likely to complain about repetition at some point. Arguably that’s not really a weakness of the game, because how else are kids going to master math facts if not through repeated practice? Nonetheless, i figured I’d include it here, so everyone’s aware that this is a game, not a “magic bullet” that will somehow implant math facts into your child’s brain.
Comments from our child testers:
- The stories are fun!
- Look, I got a castle!
- This game is fun and I really like the horse.
- I did not know I am this good at math.
- This is so much better than mathletics.
The game retails on-line for US$47, which is a really good deal when compared to other games like Timez Attack and subscription services that quietly eat away your money month after month.
From a psychological standpoint you probably can’t get it any better – the game constantly adjusts to the player, provides rewards at every level and enables really everyone to win. Kids can’t help but master the number tables. Difficult questions get repeated and the game only moves on when there is sufficient competence.
At the same time you get beautiful graphics and a terrific statistics overview to see where your child is at.
Clearly someone has put a lot of thought into the game design here.
The storytelling is fun and beautifully illustrated. The only drawback I can see is that the quest story narration (which can be turned off) feels a bit too slow-paced for an adult like me. But for kids that did not seem to be a problem, as it enables them to read along.
Free Trial Available
MathRider now have a free trial available on their site. You basically get to download the full-featured version and play with it for a limited time. You can find it here: MathRider Math Facts Free Trial
Scorecard for MathRider
|Covers:||Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication (times tables) and Division|
|Effectiveness:||5 out of 5 (it’s like mastering math with a guided missile)|
|Learning vs Fiddling:||5 out of 5 (cannot be simpler than this)|
|Avoids Violence:||5 out of 5 – Okay, the evil king kidnapped the princess, but that’s in the storyline. Other than that, you help people all the way without anyone or anything getting hurt|
|Fun Factor:||4.5 out of 5|
|Medium:||Online Download Only|
|Platforms:||Windows, Mac and Linux|
|Price:||$47 (as at March 2012)|
|Guarantee:||Yes, 30 days Money Back Guarantee|
|Value for Money:||5 out of 5 – with all operations covered and the way this is implemented, this is value for money. You could go for Timez Attack, but there you only get multiplication for a higher price.|
|Overall:||5 out of 5 (highly recommended)|
Visit the MathRider website for more information.
Your Views on MathRider
Do you own this game, too? Please share your views and experiences with MathRider below: