The Land of Venn - Geometric Defense Review
Version Reviewed: 1.3
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
The Land of Venn - Geometric Defense is, as the name may describe, is a bright and colorful early geometry application that drew in my seven year old - captivating him as he learned about different shapes. The Land of Venn is a a tower defense game where children need to protect the magical pools of juice from the invading Bookkenriders, who can be defeated only by using geometric-based magic. Children will be taught how to draw a point, a straight line, different kinds of triangles, and four-sided shapes. By the end, children will know the differences between equilateral and isosceles triangles or between trapezoid vs. rhombus, being able to identify as well as draw these shapes, engaging even reluctant students.
The look of The Land of Venn is truly creative and original, with an almost irreverent style that reminds me of Todd Parr’s illustrations if seen on Adult Swim with many quirky, presumably hand-drawn details as well as other wonderfully odd elements that will make adults smile while maintaining its child friendliness.
Each of these thirty levels includes a vivid use of color and cartoony looks, bringing The Land of Venn to life as one needs to protect the landscape and, more specifically, the juice pools the marauding Bookkenriders are after - they dip their straws into the the pools to drink the magic juice if they are not stopped. To do so, children will need to draw a shape they have learned about, preferably one that was just taught to them, because the most recently-explored shapes are more effective at destroying the destructive Bookkenriders.
I do really enjoy the sense of urgency created, tapping into children’s willingness to play arcade-type games without much thought as to how much they are really learning. I did notice, however, that although practice moments are included before each level when one is taught to draw specific shapes like squares or rectangles, the creatures one is set to fight do not move in formations that allow for many perfect shapes to be drawn.
Instead, I found myself drawing many unspecific triangles of three very uneven sides, as well as quadrilateral shapes of very little form as I did not want to wait for just the right moment to produce a perfect square or right triangle. I also wish more information was included about the different potions one can purchase as there is no guide for their use, be it the specific ability that is gained with these one-use bits of magic or how to use them during the game itself, leading to some trial and error that as of now does not add to the experience at hand.
Even having said this, I can easily recommend The Land of Venn as a fun and fast-paced math game for young children. As colorful as this app is, it is also loud, with a nice use of suspenseful music as well as a narrator who walks players through each level with great enthusiasm. It reminds me of the Strong Bad character for the Homestar Runner online cartoon of many years ago. The Land of Venn is not what I would call a quiet game, but it will be a certain family favorite with its unique gameplay and undeniable educational content.