Operation Math is an interesting and fun math app for iPad with a fun spy theme that will keep kids engaged.

Kids will enjoy foiling Dr. Odd as he tries to eliminate even numbers from the world as here, the player is a dapper spy much akin to 007 in this dynamic iPad app. Families will appreciate how the games of three players can be kept separate, a nice touch for households or small groups of students.

I really like these missions, as players are briefed by expert narration that explains the task at hand that needs to be completed, as various famous locations are included, photo and all, adding to the richness of this experience.

Over one hundred missions are included, with increasing degrees of difficulty, but the game play remains the same and is easy to learn as math problems are shown across security doors that open with a correct answer. One has 60 seconds to complete each mission, adding to the excitement created here, with the additional elements of collecting different uniforms and gear that keeps this math app interesting and nicely goal-oriented.

Do practice on the included training levels which are also included, and note that children’s progress at this sometimes challenging app is also being recorded.

I really appreciated the 15 different locations based on real landmarks and geographical areas that are tracked on the included map. These images, details, wonderful narration and music really keep the game fun, engaging and suspenseful, making this a desirable app for grade school kids to come back to again and again.

The style of this app is simply wonderful, but I am embarrassed to admit that I was not able to get past the last addition level and have had problem passing other levels in the subtraction, multiplication and division that include double digit mathematics – not from a lack of mathematical ability – but from a lack of time.

This app is terrific to get kids to memorize their multiplication tables as this is something children are expected to learn in grade school, but I simply found 60 seconds not enough time to perform some of these series of more complex math problems.

I do not know if the intention here is to help kids memorize past the basics, as it seems there is no time for any other method of problem solving, but to quote Albert Einstein “Never memorize what you can look up in books” or more to my point, don’t spend brain power memorizing what one can figure out by simply doing the math, something I felt necessary to do as I did not have the time to stop and think, let alone do any sort of math in my head.

Honestly frustrated that I hit a wall that I could not pass, be it the last level of addition, I handed this app off to my husband, who is not only good at math but who has also finely developed gamer reflexes for some help, and he got just as stuck, even more frustrated than I.

Personally, I don’t understand the practical application of having do to math so quickly in one’s head, as there is no time to work these problems out on scrap paper, a prerequisite for me to feel comfortable in many mathematical situations or even count on one’s fingers – something looked at as was highly desirable by my favorite math teacher as something that should be encouraged and never looked down upon. Even tricks I use to add quickly in my head were not possible as there is simply no time to do so.

As I re-read this review, It concerns me that I may sound bitter, sulking over not being able to fully succeed at a children’s game, as there is some truth to this statement being that I never got to get as far as I wanted in this game for both review purposes as well as to be able to obtain the super-cool uniforms and gear I was looking forward to.

Out of frustration, it sometimes feels like this app does not reward attention and focus that will be needed in math when the problems get harder.

It is very possible that kids from this generation will have no problem with the speed of this app – that my husband and I are just getting old and not as sharp or fast as we were years ago, and that the use of technology that kids are now exposed to has pre-disposed them to do well under such timed activities in ways I still can’t comprehend.

This may be true, but in the future, I would love to see this app contain a Parents section explaining all the aspects of this app, as although the look of this app is quite appealing, I found the navigation here to be a little cumbersome and less than intuitive, as I did not find the addition and multiplication quick reference tables that may have helped my speed within this game.

I would also be overwhelmingly happy if here, parents could choose to add seconds to the base time given for each level if their children feel stuck. I think these levels should be challenging and that it is ok to have to go back and repeat if one needs to, but there may be a time when kids need extra time to be able to succeed, making them able and willing to continue.

It would also be nice to choose to have the time be less of a factor, but still penalized for wrong answers in terms of losing seconds, thus encouraging the correct answer the first time around.

It would also be great if a female spy was also included, as math is unfortunately often though of as a “boy” subject, and the inclusion of a woman who also needs to gather uniforms and gear may really speak to girls who will also enjoy this challenging math app.

I do like very much the the concept of this spy needing to open these doors quickly before time runs out very much and I am not looking to alter this gameplay, but I think that adding the right additional amount of time here could make this math app still challenging for children, just right for various abilities in terms of speed, as my husband said that even five more seconds would have made a difference in being able to complete the final math level.

From the overwhelming positive reviews on iTunes, it is obvious that I am in the minority for having had such issues of trying to beat this 60 second clock. I do love the spy theme, the wonderfully stylized visuals, effective narration and wonderful use of music.

I do recommend this app for children who are speedy at things, as I would never want to get into a typing contest with a kid born in the age of heavy texting, and I think this would be a an especially great choice for gamer children uninterested in studying math in conventional ways.

Parents of younger children should also check out the other apps the developers at Spinlight Studios, as their Alphatots™ and Tallytots™ apps are still huge hits with my son who is now four, and have been for a long time now.

Posted in: By Age Range, By App Feature, Just For Fun, Math, Parents and Kids, Primary School, Reviews

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