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Review by Mark Raby, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2012

Roman Town

Puzzles and mini-games make Roman history come alive

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Grades
6-7 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: The educational content is seamlessly integrated into gameplay and comes with a teacher dashboard to monitor students' progress.

Cons: The graphics are adequate but not as robust as the current video games.

Bottom Line: Roman Empire learning game transports kids back in time for a rich, interactive experience.

Roman Town would make a great supplement to any existing curriculum about the Roman Empire. There is a Classroom Edition of the game that allows everyone in the classroom to play at their own pace (up to 30 kids can play with the purchase of one Classroom Edition). Teachers can even monitor individual progress for every student. Teachers could see how much of the material they actually learn by quizzing them in the classroom after a session of playing the game. This game will likely excite students to learn about ancient Rome and will have them begging to go to the computer lab for a play session. It's also a fun way to introduce students to the role of an archeologist.

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Editor's Note: The Roman Town downloadable game is no longer available; however, there's an app-version with some differences that is still available.

In Roman Town, kids take on the role of a budding archeologist. They dig up artifacts, try to piece them back together (in both 2-D and 3-D puzzles), and uncover loads of fascinating information about the lives of ancient Romans. After a successful excavation, the kids' learning is reinforced by having them fill in the blanks of a report about the artifacts they uncovered. In addition to the main gameplay, kids can also explore the various buildings and sites of the Roman Empire. Kids can also engage in a variety of mini-games -- matching games, puzzles, word searches, and even an old Roman-style board game that challenges logical thinking.

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This game is packed with information about the Roman Empire, which is seamlessly integrated into a fun and engaging game. Because kids explore the various settings of ancient Rome, and the quest to find and learn about artifacts is essential to the story, the learning occurs in a very fluid and natural way. Throughout the process of their virtual archeological dig, kids can pick up tons of information about life in 79 A.D. In addition to getting an insider's view of daily living for children of the era, players will also learn about technology of the time (magnifying glasses, rain-collectors, etc.) and art techniques (frescoes, mosaics, and so on). The fill-in-the-blank reports are also great for ensuring kids pay attention and actually take something away from the experience. The game does a good job of mixing in some mini-games along with the investigative work so that kids won't get bored doing the same thing over and over again.

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Overall Rating
5

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

This game is designed specifically to incorporate educational content, and it does so brilliantly.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
5

The educational material is baked into the gameplay experience. Historical facts and information on archaeology are interspersed between the puzzle levels and mini-games.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
5

There are in-depth tutorials that help kids throughout the gameplay.