Website review by Carrie Garges, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2020

The Legend of Geomethor

Arcade games offer superficial angle on basic geometry

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Grades
9–12
Subjects & Skills
Math

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Pros: Looks and plays just like an arcade game with a loose narrative.

Cons: Identification practice without opportunities for higher-level thinking.

Bottom Line: Arcade games offer basic, repetitive skill practice.

An end-of-unit review -- outside of practice tests -- is hard to come by. Each game in The Legend of Geomethor covers a singular standard, so teachers can assign specific games of focused practice and review.

Each video challenge the main character faces can be a source of material for classrooms that use problem-based or inquiry learning, though teachers will have to build the curriculum around the videos. Breaking the videos into three sections -- the problem, limited information, and the solution -- gives students or teams chances to talk through strategies, define which theorems are useful, and share how they would complete the challenge.

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The Legend of Geomethor is a collection of 10 educational video games targeted toward students who have already completed high school-level geometry. The collection is brought together under the story, the legend of Geomethor. Through the main character's visions and lessons, his powers of geometry become stronger and will save his world from being destroyed. In place of instructional videos, players follow the legend of Geomethor through a scattering of three- to four-minute videos. In these chapters, the main character must use geometric postulates to overcome obstacles and save his world. Graphics clearly demonstrate the strategies involved, but the videos aren't interactive, and the games that follow the videos require the player to remember only the most basic components.  

Focusing on various standards, each of the games follows similar patterns. When players come upon polygons, they are asked to identify the geometric diagrams based on similarity, congruency, or other characteristics. Players blast or capture correct selections to earn points. Using simple controls -- space bars and arrows -- players jump and blast their way through various challenges like cliffs, dangerous creatures, and dripping lava, to complete each game and move on to the next. Teachers should note that the finale video seems to be missing, which is a bit of a letdown after mastering the game.

The Legend of Geomethor is a decent tool to have on hand for end-of-unit review. The video lessons provide the main character with problems far more challenging than the skills needed to master the games that follow, so using the narrative and videos would provide the richest material. However, while being exposed to challenging problems is beneficial, players aren't asked to interact with these challenges in any way, so they can skim the ideas or skip the videos altogether. Although the educational component is secondary to the games -- and the games offer only superficial learning -- all mathematics introduced in these games are sound, and the skills that players must use are important basic building blocks for mastering geometry.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Animation is nicely done and graphics are reminiscent of arcade games, though high school students won't be impressed. Controls are keyboard-based and take some time to master.

Pedagogy

Without an instructional component, players must learn on the fly or have some previous knowledge to draw on. Skills needed are basic and practice is repetitive.

Support

Directions appear at the beginning of each game, but help disappears during play. Help or hints of any kind aren't present, nor are there closed captioning or language options for videos.


Common Sense reviewer
Carrie Garges Classroom teacher

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