MathBlaster.com has a new game out for the iPad called “Math Blaster: Hyperblast 2″. It is currently available in the Apps store for free and is one of a handful of other apps from the Math Blaster family created by Knowledge Adventure.
The Math Blaster apps are an extension of the online world kids can join at MathBlaster.com. It is a multi-user domain similar to Secret Builders or Poptropica in that users create an avatar and then safely interact in a virtual alien world with activities centering around math. There is a currency system and credits can be earned through game play on the apps if the users is logged in at the time with his or her Math Blaster account.
One feature that I appreciate as a parent is the ability to create accounts for your children that are connected to a central family account. Parents can add up to six children on the accounts. This is great for a parent but may be limiting for a teacher trying to create student accounts. Students can always play as guests and practice the same math skills without needing to access their accounts.
The user interface of Hyperblast 2 is that of an alien adventure where the hero rides a type of rocket cycle through a series of three dimensional tubes and tunnels, avoiding barriers and blasting away at obstructions. After a certain number of distance is cleared, users take on the Alien Boss who holds in its tentacles the answers to math fact problems. By solving the Alien Boss’s problems quickly, users unlock more ammunition, weapons, and levels.
The game play can be controlled and each adventure is customizable by a type of math skill to practice from addition and subtraction to multiplication and division as well as fractions and standard form. Difficulty within each of those skills is also easy to set. For example, if a student is working on division, the difficulty of the divisors can be selected. Also, the difficulty of game play is selected each time a new game starts. This helps insure that the user actually makes it to the alien boss to do math besides just blowing up stuff.
I can see elementary aged students spending hours with Hyperblast 2 while practicing their math facts. As an educator I see it as one of the apps I would hope my students would have on their home iPads or iPod Touch devices. I say that because game play seems disproportionately spent on flying through space and shooting things on the way to the Alien Boss where the real math occurs. It would be fine as well on a classroom iPad to be used as extra practice or for enrichment time.
Hyperblast 2 is one of those apps that kids will enjoy because they enjoy the challenge of making their way through obstacles, especially ones in outer space that involve riding a “hypercycle” and blasting away at targets. They are going to play these types of games anyway so it is great to see it infused with math skills and the ability to tailor which math skills are being practiced and at what level. My only hesitation for using this app more during instruction is that is seems a little too much dessert than meat and potatoes.
Overall, this is fun, well produced game that takes advantage of the iOS devices’ accelerometers to make controlling the cycle as easy as tipping and turning and tilting the device. It is currently free in the app store, but typically retails for $1.99. At either price point, it is well worth the add to your apps collection, especially if you have a reluctant math student who could use a little extra practice. My nine-year-old spent some time refreshing her multiplication with it today in fact. After everyone went to bed, I spent some time with it too.
JumpStart is offering a free, three-month trial of the online version to one of our readers who voices an interest in the comments!
(Giveaway: A three month membership to www.MathBlaster.com, the game upon which the HyperBlast app is based will be given away to one reader in the comments below. Designed for kids ages 6-12, the Math Blaster virtual world allows kids to create avatars called Blasters for themselves as they become the newest cadets at Blaster Academy. After completing arcade-style math challenges and racing through high-speed missions, they become members of the Intergalactic Space Patrol and explore a futuristic world, voyage to strange new planets and discover wacky alien races, all while practicing their math skills. We regularly continue to add more challenges, planets, and math games, so I encourage you to check it out at www.MathBlaster.com.
Disclosure: I was provided with a membership good for Math Blaster and Knowledge Adventure at no cost by Knowledge Adventure in order to test the products’ abilities and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.”
Reviewed by Andy Losik