A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn the math concepts of decimals, fractions, integers, multiplication, and division appropriate for 6th grade math while adventuring through Monkey Tales: The Valley of the Jackal. Kids will also apply logic as they navigate through the mazes and defeat enemies in the game. An algorithm that adjusts the game's difficulty to the individual player allows kids to progress at their own pace. Having the ability to do a "do-over" also lets kids learn from trial and error.
Kids rescue monkeys and defeat the evil tyrant by traveling through the desert of Egypt and underground temples, using logic and math to navigate safely to their destination. The game sends the message that using math can be fun and useful.
Positive Role Models
The kid characters are the adventurers (and heroes) while the adults are the storytellers that also provide hints and encouragement.
Ease of Play
All games are presented with text as well as voice-reading over the text. Story text is also voiced. Controls are simple, using a few keys such as the arrow keys to walk and shove blocks, and the "Cntrl" key to get an overhead view of the map.
Violence & Scariness
Kids can fall into pools of snakes and acid, be caught by jackals and monsters, and even zapped into ash by lasers. Graphically, kids just disappear and pop up again whole, at the beginning of the level for a do-over.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Monkey Tales: The Valley of the Jackal is part of a series of European edutainment game that has been re-designed for the U.S. market, using the 6th Grade Math Common Core Standards as well as the 2009 Department of Defense Educational Activity (DoDEA) standards. Kids play through an adventure game using logic and typical math skills found in the 6th grade. The game is not meant to instruct but to provide a way to practice math lessons learned in school in a fun and challenging manner. The game has some slight violence in that kids can get caught by monsters, fall into pools of wriggling snakes, or be zapped by lasers if they misjudge, but characters will simply reform at the start of the level so that kids can try again.
Is It Any Good?
Monkey Tales: The Valley of the Jackal is an adventure game where kids use logic and strategy to navigate through environmental puzzles. This includes using mirrors to deflect lasers, moving blocks to build bridges, watching their timing to avoid running into monsters, and jumping on moving platforms. They build pathways to collect bananas for the monkeys they rescue, and play math mini-games to rescue those monkeys and cross tricky tiled floors, where a mistake could mean you fall into acid. The mini-games are presented in a fun manner as kids use space-ships to grab numbers to make up the answers and cannons and blasters to blast numbers.
The uniqueness of this game however, lies in the algorithm that gauges kids' math levels and monitors their progress through the game, presenting progressively harder math puzzles as they move through each level. As kids progress through the game, they are presented with more challenging games, but they will not be stressed by games that are too hard for their personal level. In this manner, this is a great game for kids to play.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.