Nommons: Math Universe Review

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Developer: Yummy Yummy Tummy
Platform: iPad (iPad2 and up), iPhone (4S and up)
Release Date: December 15, 2013
Price: $2.99
Where to Buy: App Store

Nommons: Math Universe is mobile game that helps you learn to quickly to basic math computation quickly in your head.  While the game is designed for children I can say without a doubt that this game has helped me with my own math skills when I am tutoring Algebra.

Story

The story of Nommons: Math Universe is told through adorable comics. You are exploring the galaxy with your friends the Nommons.  You need to repair your ship with the help of your friends.  You repair and upgrade your ship by solving math problems.

While the story may not be the focus of this game it doesn’t have to be since it does enough to be cute and focuses on what matters most which is teaching math.  Still the game does try to give you smiles and laughs with the characters and enemies.  Who wouldn’t smile from a cat tied to balloons flying in space.

The comics used to help tell the story are also cute and adorable.  While I haven’t unlocked them all I do understand that flying in space is enjoyable for the pilot Nibblee as you help him across the Galaxy.  Then again who wouldn’t enjoy flying through space.

Gameplay

The gameplay is designed for children so it is very accessible to anyone that understands how to use a touch screen device.  Most of the game will be easy to comprehend especially considering how well children understand touch screen devices.  In fact the math problems will adapt to the user and become more difficult as you get better.

When you start a level you will be asked if you want to do addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  You will need to answer a certain amount in the given time to proceed and if you do really well you will get power ups like shields or point multipliers for ship.  The faster you answer the more prepared your ship will be when it is time to fly.

Power up can be purchased with points you collect when you are flying your ship.  There are a ton of fun and unique powerups like shrinking your ship, slowing time down, and being able to flick away at your enemies.  There are so many powerups that it took me a while to even try them all.

These power ups will be useful to help keep your spaceship safe from all the objects and enemies that you will encounter.  There are quite a few type of enemies that can give you a hard time such as one that if you run into it will spray your screen to obscure your vision and can only be cleaned by swiping your finger.  The enemies make great use of the touch screen capabilities.

Your Nommon friends will be scattered throughout the level.  When you grab them they will each help in a different way like giving a small repair to your ship.  You can drop them off at certain platforms to dramatically increase your score.  A galactic journey is so much better when your friends are with you.

You can also build your own levels and share them.  The points you collect throughout the levels can be used to randomly unlock items which can be used to create your own level.  Change the skins of objects, enemies or just have an entirely different background it is all up to you.  When I unlocked the Video Game Hollywood background I decided it would be a long while till I flew in space again.

Nommons: Math Universe is paced in such a way that you don’t even realize that you are practicing your multiplication table or addition.  To fly your ship requires just about five to ten math calculations which with practice will become quite easy.  You are then quickly rewarded with some fun space flying.

fruit_pirate_iphone

Audio

There are great sound effects in objects, enviroment and characters.  Your friends will cheer you on as you answer problems and know when you need to solve problems better.  When you are flying your ship you can hear your friends to help make sure you don’t fly by and accidently not see them.  Overall the sound is used to great effect.

Though the main song can get be a little repetitive.  When you are flying a level the music is always the same.  In a game where you can unlock so much and build your own level I am surprised that you cannot unlock soundtracks for your own level too.  Especially since after a while I would assume for anyone it would get quite repetitive.

Graphics

This is one adorable looking game.  All the objects, creatures, and friends look absolutely cute.  The art style of the game matches perfectly with the audience they are trying to appeal to.

Your Nommon friends look like characters out of cartoon shows and stuff animals you get for your children.  Unique enough to look different from each other but similar enough to know that they are your friends.  You can tell what are creatures you should avoid and creatures that you shouldn’t.

I loved flying through space just to see what the artists did with the level.  The best part is I haven’t even seen everything since there are so many levels to unlock.  What I can say is that seeing flying dinosaurs in space is awesome.

Downsides

When I talk about some downsides the game has I am speaking from a perspective of a young adult.  One of the issues I saw about this game was how they didn’t give any tips to help with your math skills.  They give you tips on how to fly bet but none on how to do calculations better.

While it is great at giving fun practice sets to children it doesn’t actually give any hints on certain calculation techniques.  While I may know that any even number multiplied by five is that number divided by two with a zero at the end maybe a child that is five might not know this trick.  While children are no doubt quite smart some kids don’t know all the tricks just yet.

I know the importance of having tips since I am tutoring a student for their High School Placement Test and they can’t use calculators on the test.  With questions that deal with long division and speed being an important factor for the test I told him many tricks to help memorize his multiplication table.

Sharing levels can also be quite a long task.  I understand using long codes with parent permission for child safety.  Still once you enter codes it should be saved somehow.   Sharing should be easy enough so the friends level that I do want my little ones to have access to should only need to ask me once.

I also disagree with the way power ups are obtained.  Since they are one time use I am very reluctant to experiment and use them especially since they use the same points needed to unlock new items for level creation.  Just minor gripes that a young child probably won’t care about but I found myself rarely using power ups saving my candy to buy the more permanent unlockable items.

Pros:

- Great way to learn important math basics
- Fun mechanics to get kids to keep coming back
- Adorable graphics
- Ability to build your own levels

Cons:

- No math tips given
- Sharing levels can be troublesome
- Power ups are one time uses

Overall

This a is a great game to give to a child that needs extra help with learning how to solve basic math problems.  Nommons: Math Universe is probably useful to many adults like myself who have become maybe a little too reliant on calculators.  We all have been in those moments trying to calculate tip in our heads.

8 out of 10

 

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About DiepSpace

Hey! Jesse Diep is your friendly gamer at Anime Courtyard. Hit him up if you want to play some video games or talk about anime. He may not be the best at games but he does like to play and have fun.
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