Common Sense Media says
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Engineering.com Games is actually the games page on Engineering.com, an informational website oriented toward adults but accessible to older kids as well. With about a hundred engineering, physics, aerospace, and logic games, plus new ones coming online all the time, your kids will take a while to find the bottom of this one. Some titles such as Nuclear Gun and Cursed Treasure are violent, but most are exciting in their own unique way.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- following directions
- reading comprehension
Thinking & Reasoning
- part-whole relationships
- problem solving
- applying information
- collecting data
Engagement, Approach, Support
Most games are engaging in their own unique way: spare yet tricky, charming yet challenging, understandable though busy.
"Sugar, Sugar," a fun "how much sugar can you get in the cup" game, exemplifies how a simple concept can still be open-ended and thought-provoking, but many games lack bridges to real-world applications.
For simplicity's sake, the site seems to have limited the options to single-player games with no registration, which means there's no saved data. The site is supported by Engineering.com, which has many other resources.
What's it about?
The ENGINEERING.COM GAMES page is essentially a collection of game links with popular and featured ones at top. Each game has its own qualities; some are RPG- or quest-oriented whereas others feature physics, and still more resemble spatial logic board games. All are single-player games, and they run either within or separately from the website. There's no login or registration; kids simply play. There are tons of options: Koutack asks kids to stack adjacent squares in a particular sequence so one stack is left at the end, testing spatial reasoning and problem-solving; Factoryballs is a sequence puzzler that challenges kids to create balls according to specifications using belts, sunglasses, paint, and more; and related games are listed at the bottom for kids. Links to Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, and more allow kids to share. Some games have YouTube-based walkthroughs.
Is it any good?
Each game on this site could have its own separate review, but most of the ones played for this review were of good quality and generally thought-provoking. On the simpler side, JECT is a balls-and-obstacles game, like Pong for the new millennium with an Angry Birds-type slingshot thrown in. Cargo Bridge is a bridge-building engineering app with somewhat dubious connector qualities, but it's otherwise appealing and educational. On the character-driven end of things, Fractured is a platform-based game that seeks to reunite a lost boy with his mom, but it doesn't seem to ever load. Ninja Mushroom is a logic platformer based on a masked fungal dude who must avoid property-endowed obstacles to reach a golden stump, all in tune to a relaxing soundtrack. Knightfall 2 is a humorous, spoofy quest that starts with our unfortunate hero getting kicked out of his thatched-roof cottage by his "Princess" (wife) who then throws the game rule book at him. Battles are played out on rotatable Rubik's Cube-like puzzle boards with deadly rats, curing potions, and keys for exiting once the goal is reached. The beginning tutorial is too long, and the font is a bit hard to read, but otherwise it's entertaining. Although quality does vary a bit, the site is definitely worth checking out as most games have educational value.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what these games have to do with real-world engineering tasks. You also can talk about what engineers actually do.
These games are meant for adults as well as kids; play along, or challenge your kids.