What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game combines challenging platform puzzle play with academic review for second-graders and rising third-graders. The game also has a great tutorial section that explains the math and language arts concepts that are tested within the game. It can be quite challenging for kids new to gaming and may be a better fit for kids who enjoy playing video games.
What's it about?
LEAPSTER 2ND GRADE: MUSICAL MENACE looks and plays like a video game, but hidden underneath the challenging gaming is a body of second grade math and language arts curriculum that the player must master to win the game. Players join the Algorithmics, a teen rock band, and try to help save the world from the evil menace named Silencer, who's stealing the world's music.
To win the game, kids must explore four locations: Air, Rainforest, Water, and Desert. At each location, the game has four levels of play followed by a battle level with the Silencer. Both the educational content and the gameplay mechanics get harder as kids succeed at the earlier levels.
Is it any good?
Gameplay and educational content are interwoven well. Kids climb ladders and vines, jump on moving platforms and trampolines, slide down ramps, and fight bad guys by playing loud music. But they'll need both skillful timing -- and math skills -- to advance. For example, to answer a question like 50+49, kids must jump onto the platform labeled 99 and not jump on the one labeled 55.
The game can be quite challenging for kids who are new to video gaming, even with the tutorial. Our testers found that while they frequently knew the correct answer to an academic question, they'd get it "wrong" because they couldn't make their character jump onto the correct platform. In the end, Leapster 2nd Grade: Musical Menace is a good fit for kids who already enjoy playing video games.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about academic games. Is this a good way to learn math and language arts? Which part of the game do you like best? Do you tend to remember things better when they're presented this way? Do you see any drawbacks?