Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2012
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Rush Hour

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Colorful, easy-to-play mobile version of classic strategy game

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Teachers say (2 Reviews)
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Grades
2-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Replay feature encourages perseverance; kids will want to keep trying for success.

Cons: Lack of a teacher dashboard or explicit content connections make it difficult to implement in the classroom.

Bottom Line: Great brainteasers build thinking and reasoning skills.

Though there’s no teacher dashboard or way to manage multiple users on the device, the developer's website offers lesson plans for the board game version that you could use for the app as well. The challenge of the game makes it a classic, and the tutorial, help features, and data tracking make Rush Hour a learning favorite.

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Rush Hour is a puzzle app with 2,500 games spread over four levels of increasing difficulty. This adaption of the classic sliding block puzzler Rush Hour offers four levels of challenge –- easy, medium, hard, and expert. Players slide small cars around on a grid, moving only forward and backward, to create a path so the red car can emerge out of the parking lot grid. Completing the puzzle is only half the goal. To get the best score, kids need to do it in the fewest possible number of moves. Kids can see how many squares they move through, and when they solve the puzzle, the game shows the minimum number of moves in which the puzzle could be solved. Kids can replay that level to try and succeed in fewer moves.

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Since kids can complete the puzzles and then strive for perfect scores, there’s plenty of play time involved. The tutorial is excellent, and hints show kids the next move if they need help. One amazing feature is the Solve button, which shows step by step how to solve the puzzle. It may feel like cheating, but on the more advanced levels, kids will still be challenged to solve the puzzle on their own even after watching the solution. Rush Hour is an engaging puzzle game with great help features that make it even better than the original. The iOS versions work beautifully, but the Android version, even on a tablet, is small –- the size of a phone screen –- which is disappointing since the app could be really vivid on a bigger screen.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

The brain-challenging fun of the classic puzzler game is even more exciting for kids on mobile devices, and the messy setup and clean-up hassle is eliminated.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Each level increases in difficulty, and there's enough to keep kids quite challenged. Scores show how many moves kids make to solve each puzzle along with the minimum number of moves possible, encouraging kids to beat their best scores.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

Aligned lesson-plan ideas for teachers are available on the developer's website. The puzzle app includes hints, a viewable solution for kids to mimic, and opportunities to replay to improve score.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Barry K. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Hathaway Brown High School
Shaker Heights, OH
3
The original sliding block traffic jam puzzle

Rush Hour is the virtual version of the puzzle game of the same name. The purpose of the game is to figure out how to move the red car through the exit gate. To accomplish this task, you just have to move the cars and trucks that are blocking the exit out of the way. The free version of Rush Hour has 35 challenges. Upgrade to the full version, and you get a collection of 2500 puzzles. Upon initial review, direct classroom use for this puzzle game was not clearly evident. However, these puzzles can help students with critical thinking skills as part of a classroom enrichment program. With the appropriate structure in place, students can use this game to develop their thinking process. The biggest challenge will be getting students to put the game down.

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