Mystery Math Town

Common Sense Media says

Great math practice with fun story, entertaining characters.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Navigating through the houses is intuitive, as is the method for solving the math problems. Kids just tap the answers or tap where they want to go. A detailed help screen offers instructions as well as some tips for getting around.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Mystery Math Town includes no advertisements or links to other apps within the game, but the start screen does include a link to other Artgig Studios apps in the iTunes store.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Artgig Studios is COPPA-compliant and collects no personal information from kids under 13. The company includes its easy-to-understand privacy policy in the app's parent section.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mystery Math Town is a goal-based game that provides daily math practice. It has a dark, mysterious mood, but it's not scary at all. The townspeople, portrayed in talking portraits, reveal bits about the town and themselves in funny, sometimes snarky, comments, albeit nothing objectionable or risqué. After kids search for hidden numeric fireflies to save, kids use those numbers to solve addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems. No data or progress is tracked for assessment. There also is a version that's compatible on iPhones (Mystery Math Town for iPhone).

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • division
  • multiplication
  • subtraction
  • addition

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • thinking critically
  • logic

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Mystery Math Town draws kids in with zany characters, a mysterious story, and fun, interactive graphics. 

Learning Approach

The story line and characters here engage kids and give them a purpose: to save the fireflies. In the math problems, kids see the solution and must create the problem themselves, adding a level of challenge.

Support

Kids can use "lifelines" if they want to skip a problem. The tutorial on the start page includes detailed written instructions and some helpful hints. Good customization options let you tailor gameplay to a kid's skill level.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • division
  • multiplication
  • subtraction
  • addition

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • thinking critically
  • logic

Kids can learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and algebraic thinking as they solve reverse math problems. Kids see the answer and the operation along with a variety of numbers, and they choose which numbers get their answer. There can be more than one correct way to find the answer, which will reinforce arithmetic skills and algebraic thinking. Kids also use critical thinking and logic to move around the maze-like houses in search of fireflies and golden coins. More informative progress tracking would give the app a boost. Mystery Math Town poses challenging math exercises in a fun, engaging way.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

Parents say

Kids say

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What's it about?

Kids are on a mission to help find fireflies that have been trapped in jars and hidden in houses throughout MYSTERY MATH TOWN. To find the fireflies, they move through different houses in the town, collecting numbers as they rescue the fireflies. They'll need the numbers because to move from room to room, through doors, out windows, or up and down stairs, they'll have to solve reverse math problems. For example, kids see 1, 2, 5, 8, and 9 and must choose two numbers to add up to 10. Finding the fireflies in one house unlocks the next house, where the maze-like rooms get trickier and the math problems do too. In some houses, kids also can collect gold coins to be used to buy portraits for their galleries. Those portraits also have lots to say, about each other, themselves, and the town. Kids create their own avatars (although only one skin tone is available), and multiple users can create profiles on the same device. Players can customize the level of math challenge, too.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Listening to a kid playing Mystery Math Town, parents might not realize right away their kid is working on math because of the guffaws over the witty, sometimes snarky, talking portraits. But interspersed with the laughter, parents may pick up on the sounds of a kid being challenged by the progressively harder math equations as they have to search through the town's houses to find the numbers they need to create and solve problems. The mysterious setting, funny townspeople, and discoveries throughout the houses keep kids engaged, and the math keeps them challenged.

Developer Artgig Apps, also creator of the excellent Marble Math apps, includes great features on Mystery Math, including customization options, a well-done help section with strategy hints, and a kid-friendly, plain-English privacy policy in the app. It does not, however, track progress or data, so it's hard to assess how a kid is doing.

Families can talk about...

  • Steer kids to Mystery Math Town for daily math practice.

  • Talk about math and numbers as you go about your day, modeling solving backwards problems. For example: "I need to choose five fruits for your school snacks this week. How many ways can you make five?"

App details

Device:iPad
Price:$2.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:April 3, 2013
Category:Education
Topics:Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Size:300.00 MB
Publisher:Artgig Studio
Version:1.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of Mystery Math Town was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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Parent of a 7 year old Written bymutigerpaw January 3, 2015
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Great app for learning subtraction

My 7 yr old loves this, and is getting a lot of subtraction practice. Well worth the cost.

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