App review by Galen McQuillen, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2015

# FAKTR - all access

Electro-futuristic prime-factorization game is a total blast

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4–12
Subjects & Skills
Math, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Awesome graphics, fun music, intuitive gameplay, and solid discovery learning add much-needed energy to otherwise boring-to-learn prime factors.

Cons: A bit too much repetition in the numbers, and primes only go as high as 13. Requires a lot of dexterity, which might be a problem for some players.

Bottom Line: The process of factoring becomes completely intuitive after one playthrough, and that makes it a huge learning success. Plus, it's just plain fun.

For younger students new to the nature of primes and the process of multiplication and division, FAKTR could be a fun way to build early intuition, either with in-class play or as a take-home exercise. In a middle or high school classroom, where prime factorization comes back into the spotlight for simplifying radicals, this app could be a super easy refresher. Even for much older learners working with number theory or advanced algebra, FAKTR would be a great intro to the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic. It's really solid for all ages and would be appropriate as math-flavored playtime in any situation.

If it's used as part of a curriculum, teachers will have to provide some support through pencil-and-paper practice, classroom discussion, or other activities to transfer the content into real-world practice, as the game doesn't take the learning quite that far.

FAKTR puts players in charge of tapping to steer a minimalist Asteroid-style spaceship first through a prime number and then through a series of numbered orbs, factoring them into smaller and smaller composite numbers, until one last pass makes them vanish from space. As levels increase, players must pass through "bombs" with the correct set of prime factors to match numbers on shielded orbs to destroy them and avoid orbs, which fire projectiles or lasers. Five sets of levels each finish off with a tough boss fight, and every completed level scores the player points, which can be cashed in for power-ups. The last few levels are extremely tricky, requiring precise timing and nimble fingers.

Graphics are all pulsing neon and edgy futuristic typography. A fun chiptune techno soundtrack keeps the energy high, and the minimalist, intuitive gameplay means FAKTR takes only seconds to learn.

Amazingly, FAKTR nearly pulls off the rare trifecta of education games: It's fun, it's instructional, and it almost inspires more learning. The fun happens simply by virtue of its simple, hyper-paced gameplay and fantastic design. It's an instructional success because recognizing the patterns of prime factorization is that game's core mechanic, and with such rapid-fire gameplay it's almost guaranteed that players will gain a solid intuition for them; thus it unequivocally accomplishes its learning goals.

A few things would round out the experience and really get players hooked on primes. There could be more diversity in the numbers used, as too many repeats start to make things feel a bit procedural. More primes beyond 13 would keep things fresh, and some language about multiplication and division would extend the process into the real world of the classroom.

##### Engagement

With Asteroid-style arcade gameplay, flashy future-disco design, and a retro chiptune EDM soundtrack, FAKTR is hard to put down. Challenging levels require strategic thinking and quick fingers, making the math go down oh-so-smoothly.

##### Pedagogy

Understanding prime factorization is critical to success in the game, so it becomes intuitive pretty quickly. If there were a greater diversity of numbers included and prime factors greater than 13, FAKTR would earn a solid five stars here.

##### Support

The game requires and rewards exploration, and every level does a pretty good job of explaining the rules, but a few tutorials might help support both learning and gameplay a bit better. Amplify packages include a student forum for outside help.

Common Sense reviewer
Galen McQuillen Researcher

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