Developer: Busythings
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Storytelling/Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Intuitiveness Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

I am excited to let readers know about a new math app that my family has really been enjoying by the developers at Busythings – a company whose library includes an eclectic group of apps that often focus on logic and problem-solving. Although I firmly believe that other games from this developer such as Path Puzzler and Falling Wall have levels of difficulty that players through adulthood will find challenging, these apps may at first glance seem suitable for bright preschool or kindergarten-aged children; which is certainly the case as my son and now his friends are huge fans of these titles. Because of this, I am very excited to see an app that is geared towards grade school-aged children, with math questions ranging from the most basic computations to levels that include the addition of fractions and other more complicated problems that may also include negative numbers and the need for decimal points.

4 Miner Birds – Mental Math is an app that up to three players can use at once, or simply play against one’s device. I am happy to see Chicken starring in this app – a familiar face from apps such as Busy Bundle 1 and Tunnel Trouble with which Miner Birds also shares a common landscape of a cross section of sedimentary rock, wonderfully colored in sunset hues such as an earthy gold, magenta, and rich purple. Here, instead of trying to dig to safety as within Tunnel Trouble, it is a race to dig up twenty worms as one chicken per player digs underground to uncover as many worms as possible, answering questions along the way.

I appreciate the spatial reasoning aspect of this game as players need to guide their chicken around the board, leading them to spaces with the most worms to collect. Strategy is needed as one can also pay a worm to open up more paths blocked by rocks as well as venturing off to open tool boxes with hidden surprises that in general help out players – be it adding or reducing the number of worms for their character or their opponent to collect, finding a worm jackpot, stealing opponents’ worms, dropping a bomb on a competitor, and other fun variations to this game play including the option of adding a timer when answering these questions.

3As with other Busythings apps, the details – however small – add humor and richness to this experience. I love how in Miner Birds, each of the three chickens has different methods of digging – be it a shovel, jack hammer, or a “drill beak” attachment that my son gets a kick out of – as well as a short animated moment of the winning bird eating the well-earned worms. All elements that will keep children engaged as they work on their math skills.

Although it would be nice to be able to have the difficulty specific to the player, allowing children from different abilities to play against each other, I find Miner Birds – Mental Math to be a game that children will want to spend time with and parents will feel great about sharing with them. I whole-heartedly recommend that readers check out Busythings’ entire catalogue of apps. I look forward to seeing what new educational games they may develop in the future.

Posted in: By Age Range, By App Feature, Education, Entertainment, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Education, iPad Entertainment, iPhone Apps and Games, Just For Fun, Math, Parents and Kids, Primary School, Puzzle, Reviews

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