Monkey Tales: The Abbey of Aviath

Game review by
Carolyn Koh, Common Sense Media
Monkey Tales: The Abbey of Aviath Game Poster Image
Adventure game uses 4th grade math in fun mini-games.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn the math appropriate to 4th grade when they play Monkey Tales: The Abbey of Aviath. As they adventure through the game, they will use logic to navigate mazes and practice their math skill as they play the mini-games they find. An algorithm adjusts the game's difficulty to the individual player, so kids will not be frustrated by puzzles they cannot beat. With many levels and the ability to use "do-overs" when they get stuck, this game gives kids the chance to have a fun time while practicing 4th grade math.

Positive Messages

By putting the math learning inside of the gameplay, the game sends a clear message that learning can be fun. Kids are put in the position of being a hero by defeating an evil witch in an abbey and rescuing monkeys along the way.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Adult characters in the game present instructions and encouragement for the kids as they move along in their adventure.

Ease of Play

Tutorials are presented with voice-overs and repeatable. Controls are simple and only use the arrow keys and space bar, and enter keys to continue. The control key gives an overhead view of the entire map and the shift key allows characters to run, moving faster through a space to avoid enemies.

Violence

There is some slight violence as kids avoid falling into pools of acid or getting caught by a ghost. The only graphical depiction of violence is their avatar getting fried into ash by a laser, but they pop up again at the start of the level.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Monkey Tales: The Abbey of Aviath is the 4th in the series of edutainment games from Europe that has been redesigned for the US to follow both the Common Core Standards as well as the DoDEA (Department of Defense Education Activity) standards. The game is not meant to instruct but to reinforce 4th grade math lessons learned in school in a fun and challenging manner. The game has some slight violence when kids misjudge and get zapped by a laser. Their character, while fried to dust, immediately reforms at the last save spot.

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What's it about?

An abbey has appeared overnight and an evil witch has taken up residence in it. Using her powers, she is draining the world of knowledge. Kids will have to investigate the abbey, avoiding all the traps the witch has laid in the various rooms and gardens to eventually reach her hide-out and defeat her -- all with logic and math!

Is it any good?

Monkey Tales: The Abbey of Aviath is an action-adventure game that has kids solving logic puzzles and completing math mini-games to rescue monkeys. Instead of doing boring math equations on paper, kids get to blast answer and steer spaceships.  Their very life may be dependent on answering a question correctly so they know which tile to step on as they cross a tricky puzzle bridge. Logic puzzles include jumping on moving platforms to get where they need to go while avoiding laser traps, using mirrors to deflect lasers, or placing objects to block the lasers.  Blocks may also have to be moved to open up a path or create a path over which to walk.

This game is unique because it uses a software algorithm that gages the player's math level as they play the game and adjusts each mini-game accordingly to the math skill. That way kids progress smoothly and are presented harder mini-games suited to their level at each chapter of the story instead of being presented puzzles which they cannot beat.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the math mini-games. Is this what you've learned in school? Are you doing more because you want to get further in the game?

  • Families can also talk about logic and strategy. Does it help to get an overhead view of the entire map? Do you prefer to think about the puzzle a while before attempting it or do you prefer to try and use the re-do button?

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