Review by Caryn Lix, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2017
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Brainy City

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Fun math-review game covers lots of concepts, offers little feedback

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Grades
1-5 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Likely to hold kids' attention and covers a wide array of math topics.

Cons: Gameplay is separate from the math, and no help is available for when students struggle.

Bottom Line: Brainy City Rush is a fun review game but won't work for teaching new concepts.

One of the limitations of Brainy City Rush is that it's designed for a single player, which means teachers can't have students sign into multiple accounts on one device. That said, the game is sure to motivate students to practice their math concepts. It provides questions from grades 1 to 5, and students (or teachers) can either select the strand of math they want to work with or get "mystery questions" from any area.

Brainy City Rush could be implemented in a math center or would work well as a when-you're-finished tool. If a teacher has one device per student, it could be used for whole-class review as well. Students would also be able to play this game with partners, taking turns navigating the mazes and working together on the math problems.

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In Brainy City Rush, students lead animals through mazes, avoiding obstacles, collecting coins and power-ups, and leveling their animals to deal with ever-increasing challenges. Coins allow students to buy more lives, level-ups, and powers, but to earn coins, students will have to answer math questions. The math questions, while unrelated to the mazes and the main part of the game, offer a good breadth of subjects and help walk students through tricky things such as problem-solving. The game also features unlockable chests with rewards and powers. These take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to unlock, which may motivate kids to keep playing.

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Brainy City Rush is a good tool for review, but because there's no explanation of why a student got something wrong, there's no real opportunity to learn. In addition, it would be easy -- especially at lower levels -- to rush through the math questions without even noticing if you got them wrong or right (to get to the more exciting maze portion of the game). The mazes encourage logical thinking and strategy and are definitely fun, so they may be a valuable use of educational time. But it would be nice to see a little more thoughtfulness required in the math segments. 

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
5

Enjoyable gameplay and clever tricks will keep kids coming back for more.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
2

No instruction is offered for incorrect questions, and the questions aren't really part of gameplay; they're more incidental to it.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

The game has a good tutorial but does not provide support for struggling math students.


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Caryn Lix Classroom teacher

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