Review by James Denby, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2018

Erase All Kittens

Quirky coding game has great concept but limited classroom potential

Subjects & skills
Subjects
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Skills
  • 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.
2–8
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Pros: Engaging gameplay appeals to a broad range of students.

Cons: Coding takes a back seat to gameplay, there are few levels available, help is sometimes hard to come by.

Bottom Line: While the entertainment factor is high, teachers will need to put in some work to make sure kids don't miss out on the learning.

Erase All Kittens is geared toward individual student use. It could be a good extension or practice activity for students who've learned a little bit about code. For experienced students it might be a fun game, but less of a learning experience. The site promises access to free lesson plans, but those don't seem to be available at the moment. If the game ever includes more coding languages like CSS or JavaScript, this could be a promising way to get students thinking more deeply about the connections between programming and creative arts. 

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Erase All Kittens is an arcade-style game (think Donkey Kong or Super Mario Bros.) designed to teach coding. With breaks in gameplay for amusing story episodes and instructions, students move through different screens by running and jumping over obstacles and leaping from elevators. Some parts of the gameplay must be modified through simple coding alterations, writing simple code, or debugging. For example, students use HTML to "fix" broken items or to create new blocks to reach a destination. As they move through different levels, players save trapped cats, releasing cute GIFs. 

Erase All Kittens has tremendous potential, but it needs to be built out more to see what it can really do. There's an original storyline and a fun gaming interface that almost all students will find entertaining. At times, however, the coding takes too much of a back seat to the gameplay, and students may miss the learning as they get lost navigating the game. At this point, Erase All Kittens only has a few levels built; new levels may dig deeper into learning to code and challenge students more. 

Erase All Kittens focuses (so far) on HTML, which sometimes gets overlooked while teaching or learning to code. Many coders, however, recommend learning HTML before starting with other languages. HTML is also a good way to get students who may be more interested in art to see that there's great potential for creative people to work with technology. Future development of the site is supposed to include CSS and JavaScript.

Overall Rating

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

Students will find the game very entertaining; its whimsical storyline and familiar but fun arcade-game style will quickly pique their interest. 

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

The storytelling and HTML-based puzzles take a fresh approach to teaching coding, but students could easily lose themselves in the gaming aspects of the site.

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

Hints in the game are clear and helpful when they come, but finding support on your own is sometimes a bit tricky.


Common Sense Reviewer
James Denby Educator/Curriculum Developer

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