Archive | January, 2013

Guest Blog – King of Math: Junior, reviewed by Josh

4 Jan

Hi all, it’s me, Josh again! I’m that guy that works on a maths blog that occasionally hijacks On Sarah’s iPad with maths app reviews. In the past, I’ve done reviews on apps such as DragonBox and Math Formulas. I’m hoping you’ve all had a great holiday, and I’m thinking 2013 will have some wonderful things in store for us all!
Well, today, I’ve borrowed the floor again to review Oddrobo‘s newest collection to the ‘King of Math’ series – King of Math: Junior.

Click the image to go to the iTunes store!

Click the image to go to the iTunes store!

Now, firstly, I would like to make a disclaimer:

The author of this post received a promo code from Oddrobo for this app (probably because of his continual blathering on about random facts about their previous release).

Also, I have one more thing I’d like to say:

The author of this review would like to apologise for surpassing the developer’s high score by 8,000,000 points.

Ok, bragging is over – let’s get on with it!
So, you’re a young child who is just starting to learn how to count. Or you could be learning how to add with your fingers. Maybe you’re someone who wants to practice their maths skills. Young or old, King of Math: Junior has an appeal, whether you have a fondness for maths or not.

As you can see, I did some fairly deep testing.

As you can see, I did some fairly deep testing.

So, much like the original, King of Math: Junior has a variety of books from which challengers can pick from. As this app is a paid app, you don’t have to unlock extra books from in-app purchases (a bonus for parents with kids that know their iTunes password). The topics covered include:

Counting, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division

Geometry, Comparing, Puzzles, Measuring, Fractions

Now, while these topics seem strikingly similar to those covered in King of Math, I can assure you that they aren’t. While the structure of King of Math: Junior is very similar to it’s predecessor (that being, books with multiple chapters that are relevant to the topic), the contents that are covered differ greatly.

For example, let’s do a comparison of a question from King of Math and King of Math: Junior. These are two questions, one from each app.

As you can see, KOMJ attempts to make the question as simple and applicable as possible. By using bright colours, and not including the scorecard in the corner of the screen, I feel it encourages the students to do their best and not to worry about the score they get.

I love how they’ve applied the questions for the most part, to real life concepts. Counting tomatoes or the numbers on a die is a straightforward activity that emphasises learning outside of the app environment. My particular favourite were levels where I had to respond to some sort of visual stimuli – whether it be trying to count the number of lemons in a mix of fruit, or figuring out which player got the cake.

King of Math: Junior is a lot more colourful and detailed than it’s predecessor – which is really, really great. It looks encouraging, and it doesn’t intimidate the user. In my opinion, it appeals to the casual user (who might use it once a day to practice his/her maths skills), the social user (who has a lot of family that want to use the app), and the competitor (Game Center availability).

As much as I love this app, it feels like there’s something missing. There’s plenty of questions, and the replay factor is great, but there are no tutorials showing you what to do. In a sense, I suppose that isn’t such a bad thing – a child can sit with their parents and learn from them. However, it’d be nice to have even a once off tutorial for each exercise, so a student or learner can take a look if they get stuck.

Pros:

  • Colourful, exciting and engaging design and layout.
  • Well developed for younger children, however, it can be used in many applications.
  • Ability to turn off Game Center.
  • Multiple profiles, including in game scoreboards for multiple accounts.

Cons:

  • Lack of tutorials.
  • Lack of a free version – unlike the previous version, there is only a paid version of the app. However, the full version is included (rather than receiving a selection of free books and having to buy the rest).
  • It can be too fun. (I played it for four hours at one point)

Verdict:

King of Math: Junior is an excellent addition to the King of Math series. With its bright colours, engaging design and easy to use features, kids will be sure to like it. This app is a must have for parents with school age children. 🙂

Sarah’s Notes

I have to agree with everything Josh has said about this app.  He gifted it to my family (Thanks again, Josh) and my children love it.  They are motivated to earn the 3 stars for each level and to increase their rank, and they love that they can have individual profiles.  It is our summer holidays here, and I have some “holiday only” games installed on the iPad (such as Angry Birds Star Wars) but they are still choosing to play King of Math: Junior.  I think that speaks for itself.  While the app is wonderful visually, it is a bit disappointing that we can’t manipulate items on the screen, for example squishing each tomato as we count it (just an example, but really tempting) or dragging items to each of the people in the division exercises.  This kind of interaction would make the app more supportive of early learners.  Also, there are no spoken instructions, so you really need to be able to read to use this app, or have someone sitting beside you who can.  Despite these things, King of Math: Junior is an excellent app for consolidating what children have already learned, and my children are loving it.

Title: King of Math: Junior
Developer: Oddrobo Software AB
Price: $1.99
Universal: Will work on the iPad, as well as the iPod Touch/iPhone.

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