Lego Mindstorms Fix the Factory

App review by
David Thomas, Common Sense Media
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Program robots in short coding puzzler; tricky later levels.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn the basics of robotic control, linking linear commands such as "move forward," "turn left," and "turn right." Stringing together increasingly long chains of commands -- some well over 20 steps long -- helps kids understand how sequences of steps can move a robot through complex environments. However, this approach emphasizes playful puzzle-solving and is relatively light on coding instruction or concepts. Still, as a first taste of robotics and programming, Lego Mindstorms Fix the Factory might inspire further learning.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to learn. Puzzle difficulty ramp-up may be too challenging for some young players.

Violence & Scariness

Cartoon robot likely will experience falls, electrocution. Robot shoots balls to activate switches to solve puzzles.

Sexy Stuff

Pushes kids to get more information about Lego Mindstorms kits, resources. Essentially an advertisement for Lego gadgets.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lego Mindstorms Fix the Factory is a coding puzzler that requires kids to direct a robot through certain tasks. Though the controls are easy to learn and master, the puzzle difficulty might ramp up too quickly for younger players. Apart from your robot falling or possibly getting electrocuted, there's no objectionable content. But parents, be warned: Kids who enjoy the game may ask for expensive Lego Mindstorm kits. 

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What's it about?

In LEGO MINDSTORMS FIX THE FACTORY, something has gone wrong at the robot factory, and it's up to the player to program a robot to navigate increasingly complex levels to put everything right. To solve the challenge of each level, kids drag and drop simple commands (turn, move, pick up, drop, and more) into a sequence. Once the commands are ready, a play button sends the robot moving through the level, following its instructions. Get the sequence of commands right, and the robot completes the level. Get something wrong, and it's back to the drawing board to fiddle with the sequence of commands, experiment with options, and try again. The only penalty is earning few stars when a level takes more than one attempt.

Is it any good?

As a Lego property, this coder has the expected polish and accessibility of the company's building products. The charming design and straightforward robot commands welcome players while a scoring system encourages them to work quickly and avoid mistakes. Because there are few consequences for failing, the game also encourages iteration, exploration, and experimentation to solve each puzzle. It doesn't take long to run through the various levels, so there's not a lot of play here, and kids might ask parents to buy Lego Mindstorms properties as a result. But it's a free game, so the price is right for what you get.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how commands and programs bring robots to life. Do you think this is easy or hard to do? Why?

  • Discuss how programming a robot is like solving a puzzle. What are the steps engineers need to take to successfully complete that kind of project?

  • Talk about how kids can walk themselves through the steps and plan carefully. Which strategies do they use?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coding and puzzles

Themes & Topics

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