Successfully Learning Mathematics: Year 4 Review
Posted by James Newton
A game you can count on?
This is the third entry in Tivola's educational series, representing another year/grade of maths puzzles to help your youngsters pick up the basics. Previous entries haven't been quite up to par, and that sadly continues with Successfully Learning Mathematics: Year 4.
Freddy the Vampire returns to help guide players through a range of challenges, some of which will look familiar to series veterans while others are brand new. Telling the time and hundreds, tens and units and multiplication and division carry over from the previous entry with some variations in difficulty, but they're not executed that well: most of the multiplication and division is just repetition and you can pass by copying answers from other boxes rather than working anything out.
Long addition and subtraction places more emphasis on showing your working as it contains separate areas to show remainders, and you can't succeed in the exercises unless all boxes are filled in correctly, reinforcing good habits. Money problems are present and correct too, this time challenging you to make up a certain amount of cash with as few coins or notes as possible.
Geometry survives from previous entries, but what starts with a promising tangram puzzle quickly becomes overly complicated, asking players to fill the outline of a rhinoceros with a variety of small rectangles and triangles. You can skip any exercise you don't want to finish, at the expense of gold stars that unlock extra levels in a decent Breakout-clone minigame.
Should players get stuck in any problem, the game provides a three-strikes system: your first incorrect answer provides no hints, a second reveals the problematic part of the answer and a third wrong attempt solves the problem for you. More specific advice or reinforcement of the principles behind the exercise would have gone down better, pointing in the right direction rather than just pointing out the mistake.
Successfully Learning Mathematics: Year 4 is a decent entry in the series that will challenge more than it will entertain, and although there are still some issues with the overall balance of activities included it's more good than bad overall.