Review: Successfully Learning Mathematics: Year 5 (WiiWare)

Your number's up

No sooner did the bell ring to signal the end of Successfully Learning Mathematics: Year 4 then it's time to buy a new uniform — figuratively speaking — and sit at the front of the class for Successfully Learning Mathematics: Year 5, the final game in this particular series.

Continuing to guide you through your numerical education is Freddie the vampire, here once again to hold your hand during a range of exercises: mental arithmetic, geometry, subtraction and division all survive, but with more difficulty than before. You'll be dealing with numbers up to one million this time, as well as performing longer addition, subtraction, division and multiplication sums than ever before. It's essentially a culmination of the content from previous outings, familiar content with small twists, but it's noticeably more difficult than its predecessors.

While the themes may be familiar, the game introduces some new techniques and concepts to wrap your brain around, usually showing an easy to solve sample exercise before letting you figure the rest out for yourself. The three strikes system is still in place: answer wrongly and you get a second chance; a further incorrect answer highlights the mistake; and a final error completes the puzzle and lets you move on. There's no hint system at work though, so most young players will likely want to play through with an adult alongside them to help out with tough questions.

As with the other entries, there's a non-mathematical bonus game to take part in, this time taking the form of a grid-based puzzle game where your aim is to guide a ball to an exit warp by flicking the Remote around. It's a decent diversion and a great deal more cerebrally challenging than its predecessors, and could conceivably form the basis of a pretty good WiiWare puzzler in its own right.

Conclusion

The last instalment in the Successfully Learning Mathematics series is mostly a more difficult version of the previous three releases, as you'd expect. If anyone in your house is keen to brush up on their maths skills, this series is the clear leader in a field of one.