S.M.A.R.T. Adventures: Mission: MATH…Sabotage at the Space Station is a new iPad game from Kata Enterprises and Engine Software. It is aimed at girls ages nine and up and uses fourth-grade math standards. The company’s goals for the SMART adventure series are as follows:
- Create fun, engaging, and educational software that is designed specifically for girls
- Help girls attain math, science, and technology literacy
- Utilize scientific research in advanced learning and teaching techniques
- Instill confidence in girls of all ages and stages of education
- Collaborate with girls, parents, and educators to continuously improve our products
Watch the trailer here:
The game takes place on Space Station Prime, where recently promoted S.M.A.R.T. Agent Delta has docked to find total chaos. The computers are down, the science labs are a mess, and the communication system is barely functioning – is foul play involved? Playing as Agent Delta’s assistant, Junior Agent Star, players use their math skills to repair the science labs and solve the mystery. This exciting adventure puts girls in the starring role while presenting positive female role models and giving them the freedom to explore and learn. Math practice has never been this much fun!
The story is a framework for the math and science puzzles, but it was interesting enough to make me want to keep playing (math is not my favorite, so you know it’s effective!). The plot is only advanced through solving math problems and puzzles. Most of the major characters in the game are women, and there is no option to change your (customizable!) avatar to a boy. The game is explicitly aimed at young girls, which is especially cool to see in an app that is fostering STEM skills.
Graphics and Sound
Graphics are crisp and well-presented. Again, most of the game is composed of solving math problems, but the interface looks slick and space-like. I only experienced one crash to the home screen. Characters are expressive and well-animated, and the cutscenes that give you more story are great.
All of the voice actors perform well, with a few tinny recordings here and there that don’t really take away from the strengths of the game. Sound effects are varied, although depending on which order you play the puzzles, you may get tired of some of the sounds. I would suggest varying your progress between the labs in order to avoid this fatigue.
There are six different types of math/science problems to solve, which are split into different labs on the station. The gravity lab has you working with fractions, the computer lab has you counting in Mandarin, the robot lab has angle problems, the chemistry lab asks you to mix chemicals in different ways to create “recipes,” the equipment lab has factor/multiple problems, and the biology lab asks you to work with place value. Each lab has three different levels of increasing difficulty, and once you clear all the levels of each lab, there is a final puzzle that implements all of the math skills you have learned. The problems offer enough variety that you won’t get bored with working through them, and you will definitely hone your math skills along the way. It took me about two hours to finish the story-driven part of the game, but that will vary depending on your skill level. You can continue working on the math problems after you finish the game.
There are no ads, no in-app purchases, and no links to click (which is all appropriate for a game with a higher price point).
Mission: MATH is meant for young girls, but I still had a blast with it. If you want a fun, empowering, educational game for your child (or just want to brush up on your own math skills!), look no further. The next game in the series is going to deal with archaeology, and I can’t wait to check it out!
You can get Mission: MATH at the App Store for $7.99. It is compatible with iPad (no iPhone support at this time) and requires iOS 6.0 or later. Follow the series through the official site, Facebook, and Twitter.
[Disclaimer: A review code was provided for me to review this game.]