I haven’t done an app review in a while, but at the request of Artgig Studio, I’ve been taking a look at Marble Math. The simple concept behind this app reminds me a lot of the 1980′s classic game, Marble Madness. However, unlike that game, where you manipulated a marble through a series of obstacles with a trackball, this game requires you to guide your marble to whole numbers, decimals, fractions, and money in order to solve math problems.
The mazes in this game are fairly simple, which I thought was good because it is very easy to run into obstacles or collect numbers that will make it difficult (or impossible) to solve the math problem provided. Some “power-ups” (or power downs) will actually change the game play a bit too, like a flashlight that only allows you do see a small area illuminated around the marble. I was quite relieved to realize that the game developers allow you to choose whether you want to control the marble with tilt controls or by dragging the marble along with your finger. I’m not that great with tilt controls, and I bet a lot of kids feel the same way. The game physics are spot on, and I felt I had good control of the marble when I did use the tilt controls, but it was definitely easier with the drag controls. The sound effects and graphics are simple but well done, and I thought the whole game play experience was very good.
Of course, the most important part of game play for a parent is the mathematical aspect, and I thought that was very well done. I like the fact that the game rotates between different representations of numbers (decimal, fraction, money). It’s also a plus that the questions are more open ended than most math apps I’ve seen for kids. Sometimes you have to collect numbers that have a specific sum. In some cases that means collecting all of the numbers; in others, it means just collecting a few. Other types of problems ask you to find equivalent fractions, or order numbers from least to greatest.
For $1.99, each of the Marble Math games offers a lot of value. Marble Math is a good way to practice arithmetic with multiple representations of numbers, and I can easily recommend it. Be sure to pick the one that is appropriate for your child’s age range. Marble Math Junior is designed for kids ages 5-8 and Marble Math for kids 9-12.