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Mystery Math Town
Pros: Players solve problems in reverse, so kids get a deeper understanding of the mechanics of math.
Cons: Lack of progress tracking data makes it difficult to identify mastery of concepts or areas for improvement.
Bottom Line: Mystery Math Town poses challenging exercises in a fun, engaging way.
Mystery Math Town offers unlimited user profiles, which makes it ideal for use even on a shared device. Work with students to customize their profile -- kids will surely want to set up their own avatar, but you may want to set the appropriate number ranges and skills to test. Progress within each user's play will be saved. Mystery Math Town is challenging for kids, and can be a fun option for daily math skills practice. It's just lacking progress reports for students, parents, or teachers.
Kids are on a mission to help find fireflies that have been trapped in jars and hidden in houses throughout Mystery Math Town. To find the fireflies, they navigate their way through different houses in the town, collecting numbers as they rescue the fireflies. They'll need the numbers because to move from room to room, through doors, out windows, or up and down stairs, they'll have to solve reverse math problems by providing the numbers to get to the given answer (like choosing between 1, 2, 5, 8, and 9 to choose numbers that add up to 10.) Finding the fireflies in one house unlocks the next house, where the maze-like rooms get trickier and the math problems do, too. In some houses, kids can also collect gold coins to be used to buy portraits for their gallery. Those portraits have lots to say, too, about each other, themselves, and the town. Kids create their own avatar -- though only one skin tone is available -- and multiple users can create profiles on the same device. They can customize their level of math challenge, too.
Mystery Math Town engages kids with a mysterious mood and snarky humor and gives them a mission -- to save the fireflies. Kids must solve problems in order to be able to move throughout the house. Since this is a mystery genre, solving problems fits into the story line and doesn't feel tacked on to get some math in. Kids use numbers they've gathered throughout the rooms of the house to complete the equation. As the game progresses, the problems get more challenging, and kids may find that they don't have the numbers they need to complete their equation. They'll just have to keep looking other places. Kids are working with logic and problem-solving as they navigate through the houses.
Kids will get a few laughs from the talking portraits and may enjoy interacting with some of the elements in the rooms, like a ringing telephone or ticking clock.