Review: Monkey Tales PC Games Combine Math, Mazes and Fun!

GeekMom Technology
Monkey Tales The Princess of Sundara

My kids play educational games on the PC at school and never once have they come home and said they’ve enjoyed that time. The only feedback they’ve ever given is that the games are not fun, but silly and boring and lame. So, when I told them I had some math games I wanted them to check out with me, there was a collective groan from the living room. I told them that they had to at least give these a chance before they could roll their eyes and play something else. They reluctantly agreed, but with the most skeptical and jaded expressions possible on their little faces.

Monkey Tales is a series of games, each geared toward a specific grade, so I started with The Princess of Sundara which is for kids age 7+ or second grade. This made my second-grader the first victim and she stood by me as the game loaded and the first screen appeared. I entered her name, told the game she was a girl and clicked the tutorial. It at least had her attention because the graphics were cute.  So far, so good.  Then she had to navigate her way across a room and through a door, which she watched me do for about two steps before she grabbed the mouse.  Once the door opened onto the second room, she was in my lap.  And within a matter of seconds she was pushing me out of the way and saying, “I got it, Mama.”

The controls were easy to understand and clearly explained.  I didn’t have to tell her how to do a thing, and she easily made her way through maze-like rooms full of puzzles that taught her how to manipulate objects and play the game.  She then had her first math experience. Her mission was to quickly determine the answers to problems that appeared at the bottom of the screen and then, in a Space Invaders style of gameplay, shoot the correct answer from the possible numbers at the top of the screen. There was a bit of competition though, as she had to score higher than the monkey playing the game with her or she wouldn’t be able to return to the main game and continue on her quest.

It took her a few tries to get the hang of moving her little turret across the bottom of the screen, avoiding goo falling from the ceiling, and shooting the right answer before the monkey, but she was never frustrated.  It was at about this point that my older daughter, who had been watching with me, asked if she could play the one for fourth graders on my laptop. That’s right, she asked if she could play an educational game about math.  I think that right there qualifies it as a success.

The Abbey of Aviath

I downloaded The Abbey of Aviath which is for kids ages 9+ in fourth grade and was curious to see if it would hold her attention. There’s a big difference between the two grades and it seemed like the style of play might not hold an older child for long.  I shouldn’t have worried, because not only were the math problems more age appropriate and challenging, the game play was more complex and she thoroughly enjoyed playing.

The combination of obviously educational segments along with a maze-like dungeon crawl, kept both kids playing until they decided they were starving and it was time to have a snack.  It’s an incredibly difficult thing to create a game that both entertains and teaches, and my kids’ initial reactions, their reluctance to even give it a chance, shows just how much of a problem this is in most games.

But, the fact that the game won them over in a matter of minutes and that they played long after I walked away is testament to the game’s success. If you’re looking to get your child a little extra time working on their math skills, then this series is definitely worth investigating. Each game tackles a range of math skills, some more difficult than others, as your child continues the quest. There’s also a good dose of fun in solving each maze and with the monkeys you defeat who end up in a special zoo where you can visit them and feed them bananas.  Available for just $14.95 you’ll find this investment will keep your kids learning and having fun for hours.

I received copies of this game for review purposes.

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