What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Impulse is a very kid-friendly puzzle game with a low barrier to entry, and it provides an intuitive -- but not explicitly instructional -- introduction to the physics of mass, velocity, and trajectory. It was designed by researchers and meant to cover Newton's laws of motion. It's tough gameplay, however, and since it lacks help or a player community, kids may get discouraged.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
- developing resilience
- handling stress
Engagement, Approach, Support
This game is fun at first and has an appealing style. But difficulty scales quickly, and the touchy interface makes repeated failures feel like bad design rather than poor play.
Newton's laws are clearly the root of this game. Players will get a feel for force and motion, but learning doesn't seem to increase with more gameplay; the game doesn't adapt to the player.
There's an exceptional guide for the first few levels, and the interface and UI are easy to master. Beyond this, however, there are no teacher supports or relevant measures of success.
What's it about?
IMPULSE is a non-narrative puzzle game with one assignment: use force to push your green ball to a glowing light while avoiding rolling red enemy balls.
Is it any good?
The game has simple mechanics and is easy to play, allowing kids to experience some of the foundations of physics and motion without the kind of baggage that's explicitly geared toward learning. Still, comparable games model the same kinds of physics concepts with more polish. Given the lack of elegant level progression, support, and a variety of experiences, kids will tend to disengage.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Newton's laws of motion in relation to Impulse's mechanics. Ask your kids how playing the game helps them get a feel for these laws. For example, are there places in the real world that don't work so neatly?
Challenge kids to set up a version of Impulse on the floor. Use marbles, bouncy balls, and other objects to design challenges. What might be used as the "impulse" in real life? What changes if the floor isn't level or has bumps?