Ice Math Ninjas: ZERO

App review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
Ice Math Ninjas: ZERO App Poster Image
Fruit Ninja-style app with number focus, cute backstory.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to increase their speed and efficiency recognizing evens and odds, two digit factors, and adding one-digit numbers. The Cool 21 game covers sequence a bit, since selecting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 to equal 21 gives kids a bonus every time; for no bonus kids can add randomly, which provides a tad more challenge, but there's no incentive. Ice Math Ninja: ZERO doesn't have a lot of depth, but it offers kids a fun way to brush up on their math skills.

Ease of Play

Some design improvements -- like a better way to distinguish 6 and 9 while numbers are flying -- would boost the ease of play.

Violence & Scariness

Tushka, the cutest, sweetest bear ever, slices numbers.

Sexy Stuff

The app includes ads for other apps, including some apps for more mature target ages. There are also links to purchase related music and books featuring the characters Pookie and Tushka. The free version of the app includes three levels; users must pay to unlock the remaining levels. The paid version comes with all five levels; optional in-app purchases in the iOS version will unlock power-ups and additional mini-games.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Ice Math Ninja: ZERO is a Fruit Ninja style arcade slicing game where kids slice numbers instead of fruit. Kids will dig the rapid search-and-slice gameplay, the interactive character-based narrative and feedback, and, of course, the cute little bear Tushka, and his penguin buddy, Pookie. Math skills covered include evens, odds, addition, and multiplication. In-app links to Facebook and Twitter can be toggled off/on by any user.

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What's it about?

ICE MATH NINJA: ZERO has five games in the full version. Sub-Zero Mines asks kids to slice everything but zeroes; in Polar Pair, kids are asked to slice even or odd numbers; and Cool 21 asks kids to slice a series of numbers adding to 21. Antarctic Add and Ice Factor provide addition or multiplication problems, and kids must slice the sum or factors. Kids can choose easy, medium, hard, or lightning difficulty.

Is it any good?

Ice Math Ninja: ZERO is an addictive and adorable set of arcade style slicing games (think Fruit Ninja) that'll be a blast for kids who need a little extra practice with math facts, but is also great fun for older kids and adults who simply enjoy the gameplay. Kids help Tushka the Polar Bear and Pookie the Penguin (who do not live in the same hemisphere in real life) slice up frozen numbers to preserve the energies of the Icelands. Gameplay keeps kids on their toes scanning for target numbers and avoiding others, and throws in variety with frozen Pookies, gratuitous slicing opportunities, and other bonuses. In all five games, if kids miss or don't work quickly enough, they freeze, but can retry endlessly. Childlike Pookie and Tushka voices provide encouragement and humor throughout.

Unfortunately, there is no way to add greater difficulty with multi-digit numbers, and data is not saved from one session to another. The app lacks games focusing specifically on subtraction and division (for example, a subtraction equivalent for the Antarctic Add game). Explanation of factors is a bit inaccurate, and download size is off the charts. Still, for quick-hit practice Ice Math Ninja: ZERO will get your kid trying and engaged.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Encourage kids to play board games that involve math such as Monopoly or Game of Life.

  • Allow kids to check out math websites like Cyberchase and StudyJams!

App details

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