Tikiquations

Game review by
David Thomas, Common Sense Media
Tikiquations Game Poster Image
Puzzler provides accessible entry into chemical equations.
  • Mac, Windows
  • $1.34 individual; $12.00 classroom
  • 2013

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Although balancing chemical equations is perfectly logical, it can be quite confusing. Tikiquations bridges this gap through play. It does so by replacing chemicals with fruit, kicking off a series of increasingly complex puzzles that introduce students to key concepts without bogging them down in details. As players balance fruits, the science of chemistry-related questions comes to life. The game gradually switches gears, replacing fruit with the chemical symbols they're meant to represent. By starting with fruit and ending with chemicals, kids learn the basic process of balancing chemical equations without even knowing it.

Positive Messages

There's no narrative, but kids are given positive reinforcement.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There are cartoon animals who offer positive encouragement, but they aren't signifcant enough characters to be role models.

Ease of Play

It's easy to get going and start solving puzzles. But, after a couple levels, the puzzles can seem unnessarily difficult if the player hasn't discovered successful techniques. 

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although Tikiquations looks like a typical casual puzzle game, it features far more complexity and learning content than the design lets on. Kids starts by moving fruit around but quickly progress to balancing chemical equations. It starts out easy enough but gets tough, and it helps take away some of the intimidation kids may feel when confronted with chemistry.

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What's it about?

Two cartoon animals want fruit to eat, and it's the player's job to solve the puzzle to balance each animal's feast. Eventually this fruit conceit fades away, and the player finds herself balancing chemical elements instead of fruit.

Is it any good?

TIKIQUATIONS provides a clever and nonintimidating way to introduce kids to the difficult concept of chemical equations. With the proper support from parents and teachers, this game can make a big difference in mastering some tricky material, especially for kids for whom chemistry is scary or seemingly too hard. Unfortunately, the difficulty increases quickly, and if the player hasn't fully grasped the underlying concepts, it might become too hard. The game's characters do offer advice but rarely the sort of guidance that would make moving ahead more fun. Still, for those who get it, it's a quick, fun experience that can help bring fearful new chemists up to speed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Discuss why it's important to balance chemical equations. 

  • Explore how people traditionally learn to balance equations, and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a game-based approach.

  • Check out Sokobond, another puzzle game that tries to make chemistry more playful.

Game details

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For kids who love puzzles

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