It isn’t easy to take the drudgery out of memorizing sums and differences, but Numbers League turns this task into a fun game that reinforces mental math skills. Developed by Bent Castle Software, this iPad-only kids edu-app recreates the original Numbers League card game, which was also created by Bent Castle.
Designed for ages 5 and up, Numbers League allows players to create superheroes with a value composed of three numbers. These superheroes can also team up to defeat a villain.
Players will do well to begin the game with an intro round that explains how Numbers League works.
The app is divided into three levels, some of which have sublevels: mini games (minion/sidekick), base games (hero/hero plus), and advanced (superhero). Hero plus and Superhero include multiplication, which means a child can continue to play Numbers League after mastering the basics, and there are a number of variants that a player can choose within the higher levels which help keep the game challenging.
Step one is to “Hero Up,” as the player spins a digital slot to create a hero. The hero’s head, torso, and legs each contain a number. The player needs to add those numbers together to decide if he wants to keep the hero or to spin again up to two more times. Players can also lock down one or two pieces of the hero before spinning.
Once the player has a hero, he taps the hero card, then he taps the corresponding villain card to beat the villain. If the card reads 1+5+2, then the child would tap the number 8 villain. The game continues until the child has beat all of the villains.
During the game the child can also skip heroing up and choose to “gear up” instead. Spinning the device for gear gives the player cards that change the hero’s value. So if a +5 gear card were added to the 1+5+2 hero from the previous paragraph, the new value would be 13. Gear cards give players a few more options to clear the board, but they can only be used once per game.
When the player matches the sum on the villain to the sum on the hero a newspaper appears with a headline including the player’s name (e.g. Emily Smashes Villains). If the player makes an incorrect match he learns there was a “narrow escape” but isn’t penalized.
Even if you don’t have a child who is working on her math skills, it’s worth watching the adorable Samantha explain Numbers League:
Download Numbers League from the App Store for $3.99.
What I liked: The superheroes and villains were clever and well-illustrated.
What I didn’t like: At times gameplay was a bit convoluted. It wasn’t obvious whether it was beneficial to continue to spin until all three parts of your hero match. The hint function wasn’t working.
To buy or not to buy: Kids have to complete sums and differences correctly to play the game, so players become more fluent with basic mental arithmetic. Although, Numbers League is probably best suited to children who are either enthusiastic or just mildly resistant to memorize sums and differences with traditional flash cards. While the game play is fun, it isn’t a panacea for kids who are struggling.
- App Name: Numbers League
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
- Category: Education
- Developer: Bent Castle Software
- Price: $3.99