App review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2014
Dimenxian

Dimenxian

Algebra game's practice-focused play showing its age

Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
5–8 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Math, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Coordinate plane and graphing practice is integrated well.

Cons: The relatively high price tag doesn't jive with the aging style and presentation.

Bottom Line: While there's some good practice of essential concepts for algebra and geometry, it's a tough sell since it's pricey for teachers and not up to par with more recent conceptual, exploratory, and adaptive games.

Since Dimenxian doesn't actually instruct students on coordinate planes, it would work best as practice and reinforcement after lessons about graphing on the x-axis and y-axis. It will help students solidify their knowledge of how the coordinate system works by forcing them to locate specific locations, fit points to a line, and other algebraic tasks. Follow it up with a journey into Minecraft, which actually uses a x,y,z coordinate system. Students can venture around the world, find places of interest and their coordinates, and then create treasure maps/hunts for other students.

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Dimenxian is a first-person shooter set on an island besieged by a deadly virus. Students battle the virus in four missions that build students' basic algebra skills. The missions' primary focus is the coordinate plane. Students must use coordinates, the x-axis and y-axis, and graphing to locate and retrieve important items on the island. Bad guys, the Sentinels, add some suspense by occasionally trying to thwart students' progress, and must be stunned until they leave. Once a mission is completed, students get feedback on how they did. It's a bare-bones, game-based wrapper for what amounts to some light practice using coordinate planes. 

Dimenxian does a good job of immersing students in the coordinate system, having them locate specific points and use the system in other ways during play. However, it's a short experience. It also shows its age  in visual quality, presentation, and a lack of interesting things to do in-game. It's likely to have some initial novelty -- especially for students who don't play games often -- but it might wear out its welcome quickly. All of this combined with the relatively hefty price tag makes it hard to recommend for a classroom.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

It'll score some points for novelty, but it lacks the visual polish and gameplay variety students expect from modern titles.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Coordinate plane practice is baked in, but it only covers so much and doesn't experiment pedagogically.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Each mission ends with plenty of data, but some tutorials covering the game's concepts would be helpful at the beginning.


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