The fast-paced learning game has practical uses and learning capabilities in simple, single digit math drills. The developers focused on speed and practical math using a sideways orientation of the Nintendo DS and handwriting recognition. Young players can gradually get into the game’s simple 100-cell format, based on Professor Hideo Kageyama’s method, while adults might only experience a refresher course depending on existing skills.
The game animates Kageyama as the host, but at first he looked like a guy wearing a blue hunting hat with ear flaps. The professor’s text comments are largely encouraging while negative feedback is relegated to words like “disappointed”, which actually isn’t too discouraging. The visuals and text add to the helpful tutorials, but the entertainment value is lacking.
In three modes, you get a 20-level daily test with flashcards and long chain problems in addition, subtraction and multiplication using the 100-cell Kageyama method. You can progress through this mode starting with 10, 30, 50 and ultimately 100 cells total. Averaging one second per cell seems to be the benchmark. This mode also has a short division marathon, which is divided up into three different difficulties: easy, with 90 whole number problems; normal, with 260 problems with remainders; and hard, where you solve 100 problems by carrying the number to work out the remainder.
The second mode, practice exercises, resembles a free play mode and includes 40 different exercises and finally, you have a study mode where you can cram with up to 15 friends. A total of 16 players can compete with one game through the DS Download Play in adding, subtracting or multiplying tables. This mode matches the game perfectly as players compete for speed. Unfortunately, this need for speed seems to have overtaken the programs because some bugs allow players with incorrect answers to win and the order of answers seem to have a mind of their own at times.
The rewards help you soldier on through the occasionally tedious math tasks. Medals, a perfect attendance record, fastest times and level up are there for the taking. This practical game is very easy to pick up and play and functions well except for a clear button that has some delay issues because the recognition may still be working when you press it.
The developers missed the opportunity to create more entertaining elements within the game while daily challenges and detailed statistics keep the content flowing. Your math skills will improve in speed more than anything else, while memorizing, counting, and practicing learned skills could easily have potential applications in actual math classes. This affordable, Touch Generations series game ($19.99 SRP) brings ideal benefits and challenges to young players up to junior high age, though all ages can enjoy testing their skills.
Personal Trainer: Math is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.