Math Blaster Online

Common Sense Media says

Exciting-yet-educational games in safe, social world.

Age(i)

2
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5
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9
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In addition to the overarching message that math can be fun, the game's social aspect also encourages team spirit and cooperation.

Positive role models

With the possible exception of the opening scene, in which your trainer/guide seems somewhat apologetic about the fact that you're going to do some math, the Blaster Academy folks are all top-notch role models. They're supportive, but push you to try harder. They're generally friendly and cooperative. And they're all really smart.

Ease of play

Through most of Math Blaster Online, you can control movement with either a mouse or the arrow keys. But occasionally, you reach a game in which you must use the arrow keys, and that can make aiming at moving targets quite a challenge. For the most part, though, the controls work well enough. And you can adjust the difficulty of the math problems throughout, as well as the difficulty of the gaming.

Violence & scariness

As the title suggests, there is blasting. In different exercises, you will zap asteroids, UFOs, targets, roadblock-type obstacles, and pictures of villains. But all of this is done as part of various training missions in the Blaster Academy (i.e., none of your targets are meant to be real).

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

While anyone can play the game for free, there is a whole bunch of advanced content that can only be accessed by JumpStart members. Memberships cost $7.99/month, $74.99/year, or $149.99 for a one-time lifetime membership. These memberships give you access not only to Math Blaster Online, but the fantasy-themed JumpStart Online as well. As a member benefit, you get four full-length downloadable games from JumpStart, too.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Math Blaster Online is an online role-playing game that is centered around educational play. As a player, your child will join the Blaster Academy and go through various training missions so they can learn how to protect the universe from bad guys. These training missions, while based in sci-fi themes, are all math games that involve performing equations to win. There is quite a bit of laser-shooting involved, but no blasting of living beings occurs. Also, while this is a social game, and children can befriend and chat with other players, they can only speak through the use of pre-selected phrases. Nor can they give out personal information.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • arithmetic
  • equations
  • multiplication

Skills

Self-Direction

  • motivation
  • set objectives
  • work to achieve goals

Collaboration

  • group projects
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Learning Approach

Support

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • arithmetic
  • equations
  • multiplication

Skills

Self-Direction

  • motivation
  • set objectives
  • work to achieve goals

Collaboration

  • group projects
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Kids can learn varying types and levels of arithmetic -- addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, algebra, and more -- all of which is integrated directly into the adventures. There's also a safe social aspect that allows players to team up with one another and work together. Kids need to set their goals and work hard to achieve them. Missions can be played at multiple skill levels, so kids can adjust the game's difficulty to fit their abilities -- and challenge themselves when they want to achieve higher goals. In Math Blaster Online, kids work with others to save the universe by using math on leveled missions.

This Learning Rating review was written by Christopher Healy

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

MATH BLASTER ONLINE is a massively multi-player browser-based role-playing game in which you play the part of a new recruit to the Blaster Academy, a school that turns out future saviors of the universe. Players' avatars can be incredibly non-human-looking aliens if they want them to be. Cadets at the academy will train in all sorts of sci-fi action games, involving everything from shooting galleries and starship missions to platform jumping and wild monster riding. But each of these activities will involve solving math problems as a major part of it. Cadets can also chat with other players, team up with them for multiplayer games, and add them to friend lists.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The scope of Math Blaster Online is quite impressive -- the academy is full of elevators and doors that lead to all sorts of different game areas. So is the way the developers have managed to keep the mini-game missions action-packed while being unabashedly math-focused. Being able to constantly tweak the difficulty level and the type of math problems you'll face is a nice way to make sure kids don't quickly outgrow the game. The social aspect is fun -- allowing kids to form teams and even make plans to meet for a multiplayer game -- while remaining safe through the use of pre-selected phrases (as well as loads of fun gestures and emoticons). And the earning of new academy ranks provides incentive for kids to keep playing -- and keep learning in the process. It provides a very nice transition from solo educational game to online social game.

Online interaction: This is a massively multiplayer game in which you can communicate with others using a drop down chat system. They cannot reveal personal information.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about social online gaming. Even though this game only lets you communicate through pre-selected phrases, it's still important to follow a proper code of conduct among the other players in a social gaming situation. What are some general rules you should follow?

  • Parents can also talk to their kids about the importance of math. Why should they play a game like this, which will build their math skills, instead of a straight sci-fi adventure that is pure entertainment? In what ways will the lessons they learn here help in their real lives?

Game details

Platforms:Windows, Mac
Price:$7.99/month
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Knowledge Adventure
Release date:February 2, 2011
Genre:Educational
Topics:Superheroes, Space and aliens
ESRB rating:NR for (Mac, Windows)

This review of Math Blaster Online 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.

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What parents and kids say

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Educator and Parent Written byespressofiend October 7, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Beware of subscriptions!

Short comment regarding the games - my kids like them and some math practice is required, but most of the time is spent playing games with no educational value, so don't be tricked into thinking your kids are getting a lot of educational benefit. My larger complaint is with their "tricks" for getting your money and their lack of customer service. My daughter enjoyed the games and I agreed to sign her up for 1 month... I thought. Turns what they made look like a 1 time payment was a monthly subscription. When I noticed a few months later, I sent an email to the customer support email I had received in my payment confirmation. The charges kept coming off my credit card. I finally called the customer support number from the email I had received confirming my initial payment, but it was not in service. I finally found a (not toll-free) number and was able to reach someone, who noted that they had in fact received my request to cancel my subscription 3 months earlier, but had not bothered to do so. I received a refund for those 3 months but not for the preceding 5 months. So basically, once they have your credit card you have to really go through hoops to get them to stop charging it.
Kid, 12 years old April 19, 2011
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
i like to play soccer its a good sports
What other families should know
Safety and privacy concerns
Parent of a 9 year old Written bycheeriePy April 4, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 
This is a perfect interactive game for my child to help her hone her skills in Math. Aside from keeping her preoccupied for a couple of hours while I do my chores, my child also learns a lot. ~ www.vodien.com
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models

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