By Michael Hartley
In case you haven't heard of Timez Attack, it's basically a computer game for teaching times tables. I found out about it when a subscriber to this website's newsletter suggested I have a look. Her exact words...
So, I decided to give Timez Attack a try, and write a review of it. I, too, hope this review helps someone.
A couple of things you should know up front.
- First of all, the makers of Timez Attack provide a free version of their game. And the free version really does teach all the times tables from 2 to 12.
- However, the paid version will hold your kids' attention for longer. The price is about $40 home-use license, $60 for a "Deluxe" license, more for a school site license.
- For free, you get a game that leads you through all the times tables, but the scenery gets repetitive after a while. The $40 gets you two extra "worlds" of scenery, plus a special "retention" level that helps drill times tables in even better. The $60 gets you another two worlds. Note that if you get the free or the cheaper version, you won't be able to hide from your kids that there are more worlds available.
- Since I'm writing an honest review, I also need to tell you that if you follow the links on this page, then buy Timez Attack, I will actually get a small commission.
Elsewhere on this site, I have a review of Arithmemouse, a similar game, and I also compare the two games side by side. If you're looking for just the right game for your child, take a look at these other pages too.
What is Timez Attack?
Timez Attack is a computer game that teaches times tables. It's designed and built by "real" computer game designers. They say on their website that they have a number of years making games for, for example, the Playstation 2. It certainly does have the same quality graphics that you'd expect a "real" computer game to have.
The player explores a dungeon with a little green monster who looks a bit like he might be Shrek's distant cousin. From time to time, there are doors with times table challenges. Behind the door, the player must answer more times table questions. At the end of the maze is a big monster who will force the player to get a whole bunch of times tables facts correct, quickly, or be sent back into the maze.
Is It Educational?
I'd have to answer this with a definate yes. Each level teaches one times table, starting with the two times table. At each door, the player is presented with a times table fact, and told the answer as they collect the creatures. Then, the player must type in the answer they've just been told. After that, they must get a minimum of three times table questions correct. This is repeated twelve times.
Counting in the questions asked by various "boss monsters" met along the way, The player will answer correctly a minimum of 80 times table facts on each level (probably much more). That's 800 for the whole game! (The 1 times table and 10 times table don't have their own levels)
Furthermore, the facts are presented with just the right timing to encourage learning
Is It Fun?
This all depends. It depends on your child, and it also depends on whether you paid for the game or are using the free version.
My son is not really "into" computer games. He'd rather be building things with his hands, or running around outside (although he did spend a couple of months playing Mathteroids every day...) He's now finished all ten levels a dozen or two times, and his times tables knowledge has vastly improved. However, there was a time when he lost interest for a couple of months (I told you this was an honest review!)
News Flash: My son came home the other day and reported that he was the times table champion in his grade 3 class! Wow!
On the other hand, some kids love it from the start - and not just ones giving the testimonials on the Timez Attack Website. If your kid is glued to the Xbox, you may find Timez Attack works wonders - especially if you tell them that "Timez Attack" is a game they can play without time limits!
When my son finally finished level 12 for the first time, the screen shows a nice badge, with the words "Certified Timez Attack Champion" or something like that. I took a screenshot, changed the background color to white, and printed it out for my son. He loved that, and later we had this conversation..
- Him Dad, what does "certified" mean?
- Me It means you have a certificate.
- Him Dad, can I start again from level two, and finish, and get another certificate?
- Me Of course you can!
Also, The paid version of the game is more fun than the free version. The game starts with the player in a dungeon, fighting ogres. In the free version, they'll stay in the dungeon for the whole game. The paid version has more "environments", such as a "robot" environment and a "lava" environment. The makers of the game say they are working on more environments too, and say that if you buy the game now, you will be able to get new environments as they become available.
Warning - these "environments" are also advertised in the free version, so don't expect to give your kid the free version and keep the robots and lava secret...
So, In Conclusion...
Timez Attack is most certainly an educational game for kids learning times tables. It's a "real" computer game, with 3D graphics, snazzy music, joystick control, and so on. It's also educational, presenting the times tables in a way that really does help kids learn.
My recommendation? Download the free version (it's about 50-60Mb), and try it on your kids. If they take to it, and if $39.99 won't break your budget, cough up the dough for the paid version. And whatever you experience, let the world know in the comments field below...
There's also a school version which allows teachers to track how well kids are doing in the game.
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