Meteor Math Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on October 18th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Meteor Math is a great universal math game that expertly adds an arcade feel which will keeps kids engaged as they learn basic mathematics.

The premise of this app is simple. The player here is given a number and then must collide meteors together that each have a number value of its own that combined will create the sum in question. This can be done by adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing these meteors - depending on what is being asked of the player.

The look of this app will appeal to arcade- enthusiastic children nicely, as this app opens up with a view of the night’s sky, presumably looking through the radar screen of a space ship or the like, based on the subtle grid also seen that quivers as these meteors collide. As the player progresses and “levels up,” the sky gets lighter and lighter, showing various stages of a beautiful sunrise through clouds. The speed of this game will be enjoyed by kids who are into arcade- style games as at times it can get pretty intense, but not in a frustrating way, an aspect that is supported by the included music, as it is upbeat and contains the right level of intensity without making the player feel overwhelmed or overly rushed.

As stated before, this app includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division and each concept can be chosen to be practiced one-by-one in the “practice” or “compete” sections, or randomly in “survival” mode.

Both time and wrong answers are factors in whether one will “level up” or “level down,” and I do wish that more information about this were offered. I am sure that real gamer kids will understand what is going on more easily that I do or other children who are not as used to this type of game, but I did find myself asking a lot of questions in the beginning of playing this app, such as the difference between “complete” and “survival” sections or what to do if I tap the wrong number and then change my mind (tap again to de-select). Many of the answers I was looking were solved through trial and error, but as a parent, I would like to be able to answer my child’s questions since not being able to tends to frustrate both of us.

I do think this is a great game for kids, especially those who would rather play video games than study math as I don’t think this game condescends to young arcade enthusiasts. I wonder sometimes if a child new to math and in need of studying the basics would find the speed at times difficult, but I think I may be underestimating the abilities of young grade school children, especially those who are already used to speedy gameplay.

This app may not only benefit those who are studying beginner math, but those who are into more advanced math as well, such as long multiplication or division, because being truly comfortable with the basics can make the more time-consuming problems with a lot of columns a little less grueling.

My old sophomore math teacher would not like me saying this, but from the way I see it, all of math no matter how advanced still has a foundation in the most basic of mathematics, as I was one who never showed the “appropriate” work for him as I got my answers using basic adding and subtracting and not “algebraically,” although my answers were consistently correct. My favorite retort was that all a computer does is add and subtract zeros and ones.

Although parents may not directly buy this app for their older kids in middle school and high school, I think there is something to be said for any age group - even adults - working with this app and strengthening their math foundations, as all math is based on these fundamentals.

I found it interesting that in addition or multiplication, either number can be added or multiplied by first for the same outcome, but the same cannot be said for subtraction as one may venture into negative number territory if one arbitrarily subtracts one number into another and chaos can ensue if one does not focus on what specific number will be divided into the other. In this app, in the interest of simplification, the number order in question does not make a difference and 8÷2 as well as 2÷8 will be correct for when the answer in question is “4."

It would be a very nice inclusion for a later update to give players the choice of this more simplified style of math, or if the incorrect number for a given math problem is tapped first is counted an an mistake, adding to further study of math in a way that will make a difference when they work with math in school and beyond, and it would also be interesting if one could combine more than one meteor to equal the sum, such as 1+2+2=5, possibly for more points and bigger explosions.

During game play, I also had a few unresponsive moments where tapping a meter did not select it for collision, a minor note as it did not happen often but did occur, sometime at inopportune moments. I hope this can be looked at in an update. It would also be nice if a “relax” or “beginner” mode could be added, slowing down the action for those who enjoy this concept but don’t like the timed element, be it child or adult.

All-in-all, I do think this is a great choice for children who would rather play video games than work on math as this is a game both children and adults will feel good about. I will be saving this app for my son for when he is older, as I am sure he will enjoy this app when he is ready to play it, and I am happy that he will be studying math this way as well.

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