Challenge Me: Math WorkoutESRB:
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Developer: Oxygen Interactive
Publisher: Oxygen Games
Math and videogames, these are two things that I never thought I would really see melded into one. Sure, there have been math puzzles included in a game full of different types of puzzles, but never have I seen math headline a game’s content. Well that day has come as Oxygen Games has recently released Challenge Me: Math Workout. Having already reviewed Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles I was somewhat intrigued to see what a game full of math problems offered.
When I fired up Challenge Me: Math Workout I had a bit of déjà vu, as the visual presentation of the game was on par with Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles. The text and numbers are clean and clear looking which helps make reading everything on screen somewhat easy. I am glad that everything is not too small as having to look at a game based on numbers could be quite a headache if things were too tiny. The look and feel is very simple, and there is not a whole lot of pizzazz going on to make this game anymore exciting looking. I can say that it is slightly, and I do mean slightly, more colourful looking then the Brain Puzzles game I just reviewed. As with my other Challenge Me review, everything in the visual department is serviceable for the content that is offered and it manages to get the job done, it is just that it is not particularly exciting. That being said; how does one really jazz up math?
As with the visuals, again I get that feeling of déjà vu. There seems to have been minimal effort here too as the music is bland and can get grating while the sound effects are kept to a minimum. All in all there is not a lot going on here. Sure, it sounds like I am being tough here, but I still can’t get figure out how one would ‘spice up’ the sound of a math based title to make it exciting.
Challenge Me: Math Workout is part of a series of games that are meant to test your brains ability in one form or another. So it is no surprise that the game follows the same line of content as its cousin that was released before it, Brain Puzzles. Challenge Me: Math Workout’s game modes are separated into two types: Formulate and Hidden Logic. Both of these game types are card based games that, of course, rely on one’s ability to use numbers and math to solve each problem. You can choose to play against up to three computer AI opponents or three real people using the Wi-Fi feature of the DS.
Formulate is a game that pits you against the computer in a race to solve equations. You are given four face up cards with number values on them and you are required string together a working formula from the cards that you are given. It sounds simple, but to add further challenge to this is the fact that each card also has a math symbol (e.g. division, multiplication, addition or subtraction) on it that precedes the number. Your goal is to shuffle the cards around in order to get the correct equation. Although this may sound easy, once you experience it you will find that it is quite a challenge indeed, especially since you are given a limited time period to do this.
Hidden Logic is a game where you play against the computer or other players. It is a game of deduction in such that you take turns guessing the numbers on the cards that your opponent(s) hold. There are two sets of cards in front of each player, and they are color coded black or white. So in theory you have two sets of numbers that you must figure out. Once players have taken a turn they then draw another card from the stack in front of them. There are some other rules to this game, such as the numbers only being revealed in ascending order, and no numbers repeating. In many ways this game is like a card based version of battleship, as you race to guess the right numbers on your
The biggest problem for me was that it was not that fun to play against the computer AI. There is no doubt that I am not the most proficient when it comes to math, but to continually get beaten by the AI, no matter what I did, was frustrating to say the least. When playing Hidden Logic there was nary a time when I beat the AI, and it seemed like it had an uncanny ability to figure out other players cards on a far too consistent basis. When taking a stab at Formulate, it was just as frustrating as I would rarely figure out the equation before the computer AI would. That being said though, I think my issues with the latter could be also attributed to needing more time. Like I said, I am not a math whiz.
Another complaint I have about the game, which didn’t seem to affect my experience with Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles, is that sans the two main play modes I have mentioned there is not a whole lot more to do in Challenge Me: Math Workout. There is the benefit of being able to play against another person or two via the DS Wi-Fi feature, but this too only lasts for so long. I think that for a game that is based on math, there should have been more options and more modes to make the game a little more enticing.
On a more positive note is the fact that unlike Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles, Math Workout does manage to provide a little more explanation of how to play the game and the two available puzzle types. So those looking for a bit of guidance will be a little luckier here then they were in Brain Puzzles.
At the end of the day Challenge Me: Math Workout does what it is supposed to do, it tests your cranial skills using a form of mathematics. It just isn’t that exciting. Those who pick this up looking for a math trainer may find this game does not offer such, but what would you expect, the DS can’t make you a modern day Einstein ya know.