Mayan Mysteries

Game review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
Mayan Mysteries Game Poster Image
Cartoony learning adventure about ancient Mayan culture.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about the ancient Maya civilization. They learn everything from the geographical details of where the Mayans lived to the different customs they practiced and the various artifacts that were used. Mayan Mysteries presents players with historical details about Mayan culture in a game setting and then quizzes them about it so that they focus on the information they're learning.

Positive Messages

This game teaches kids about the ancient Mayan civilization, helping them develop a respect and understanding for different cultures. It also provides them with encouraging messages as they complete various tasks.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All of the characters in this story-driven game embody positive characteristics. No one character comes across as an especially strong role model, but they are all kind, genuine, and smart.

Ease of Play

Most of the activities in this game involve reading a passage or paying attention to something on the screen, and then trying to remember what you just read or saw. As such, the game isn't especially challenging, but sometimes it is difficult to remember all the various facts and details. Players can repeat the activities until they are successful so there is no risk of "losing" the game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mayan Mysteries is a story-based game in which players follow explorers on their journey to discover various artifacts and uncover details about the Mayan culture. Players read a lot about the Mayan civilization, from its geographical details to its historical significance, and everything in between. Along the way, the game quizzes players about what they have read, and they must answer questions correctly in order to continue. The content is designed for kids in grades 5 through 9, and even if they have difficulty answering the questions, the game will help them to prevent any frustration. A similar version is available on the iPad for $9.99.

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What's it about?

MAYAN MYSTERIES puts players in the middle of an adventure to uncover artifacts and discover secrets about the ancient Mayan civilization. Players follow along with the story, which is displayed in the style of a cartoon-style comic book. In between parts of the story, players are quizzed on what they just read. Sometimes this is just a series of multiple-choice questions, and other times they need to play through a more interactive mini-game. Players will learn things like the meaning behind various Mayan artifacts, the difference between myths and historical facts, and the geography of where the Mayan civilization existed.

Is it any good?

Mayan Mysteries is a game where the educational content is the primary focus and the gameplay comes second, but even as such, it is all presented in a fun and easily digestible way. Much of the game revolves around players reading various passages and unfolding new parts of the story. Because the gameplay and mini-games revolve around these passages, it definitely makes players pay attention to what they're reading and helps tie the entire game together. Even players who have no interest in ancient cultures can find this game empowering because it constantly reinforces the learning of new things. The game encourages players and provides them with positive reinforcement as they complete the quizzes and mini-games. This educational video game makes learning about ancient Mayan culture fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of understanding different cultures. What do you think of the things you have learned about the Mayans?

  • Games that teach history let you travel back in time. If you could travel back to any time in history, what would it be and why?

Game details

  • Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
  • Subjects: Math: addition, division, grouping, multiplication
    Social Studies: cultural understanding, exploration, geography, global awareness
    Language & Reading: following directions, reading, reading comprehension
  • Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals, goal-setting, work to achieve goals
    Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, memorization, solving puzzles
    Tech Skills: using and applying technology
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Dig-It Games
  • Release date: December 11, 2012
  • Genre: Educational
  • ESRB rating: RP
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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