Review by Christy Matte, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2013
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LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

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Pony game tries too hard to squish learning into an adventure

Subjects & skills
  • Math

  • Critical Thinking
Grades 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.
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Pros: Kids love the characters, and the game teaches math skills that aren't often included in learning games.

Cons: Flight mechanics are frustrating, there's too much repetition, and the mini-games aren't all that fun.

Bottom Line: A mediocre title that may educate but doesn't live up to the My Little Pony magic and hype.

This game is best for quiet, independent time. And kids who have a foundation of skills will find the most success. Tie the game to in-class lessons on simple probability (more likely/less likely/impossible/definite), using it to emphasize and reiterate what has been taught. 

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LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic asks kids to help retrieve the six Elements of Harmony from the Pony's nemesis, Discord. To do so, the My Little Pony gang must use magic to fly and catch duplicates of themselves created by Discord. When not attempting to fly around (which is challenging in and of itself), kids will tackle a variety of math problems that focus on probability, percentage, addition, subtraction, and multiplication. There are six Elements of Harmony, and it takes kids four rounds of games to obtain each one. A round may include several bouts of flying and a couple of math mini-games.

There aren't a lot of fun games to help kids with probability, so LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has the potential to fill a gap. Unfortunately, kids will spend more time trying to fly (and likely getting frustrated) than doing much else. The math problems appear outside of flight time, and it seems as if the developers tried too hard to integrate them into the games. One game tells kids that a pony needs help picking the best apples, and to do that, kids need to decide how likely it is that a certain color apple will fall from the tree. Another has kids figuring out which of two spinners fits a probability question (more likely to, less likely to). A correct answer speeds your pony ahead in a footrace. Can kids learn? Yes, certainly. But it feels forced. There is a lot of repetition of both tasks and dialogue, and the mini-games aren't all that fun to start with -- never mind after the 10th time playing. On a bright note, skills start at a relatively low level and slowly ramp up as kids see success. There are also plenty of stars and rainbows to keep kids feeling dazzled, as long as the flying doesn't get them down.

Overall Rating

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

Frustrating controls and lackluster mini-games mar what could have been a fun romp through a magical world for My Little Pony fans.

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

Skills start easy and ramp up as kids master them, keeping the game challenging. Math mini-games seem forced, though, with content that doesn't always align with the learning.

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

The game offers plenty of help. Adults can track a child's progress via the online LeapFrog Learning Path.

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