Growing up in the 90s meant I spent most of my childhood without technology. When I went out to play with friends, there was no guaranteed way for my parents to get in touch with me. I also remember when we got our first home computer. I’d spend hours drawing in Paint. When we got Encarta, it opened a whole new realm of engagement and education. Then there was Math Blaster – a game that made math a direct part of the experience. And because I was learning, my parents would often let me spend more time ‘playing’ than they would let me watch TV.
But we don’t live in the 90s anymore. Technology is everywhere and in everything. Parents can now drop a GPS tracker in their kid’s lunchbox (that’s if they don’t already own a phone). Games are now immersive, story-driven and more engaging than ever.
So is there such a thing as this generations Math Blaster?
Before reading any further, I must disclose that this post has been written thanks to the financial support of Prodigy. Thoughts and experiences are my own. So #ad. Alright, let’s get into this!
Prodigy: A Math RPG for Kids, Parents, and Teachers
Here at Guy Maven, we review a lot of things – but Prodigy is unique. It’s an RPG-style game borrowing elements from Pokémon, Final Fantasy and other role-playing games. But, unlike those games, Prodigy is completely rooted in math education for kids in grades 1 to 8. That makes it an odd thing for me to review. But I recently checked my analytics, and according to Google, it seems more and more of our audience has kids. So, this review comes with that in mind.
The Game Reviewed
To review the game, I had to try it. The setup is straightforward (really young kids may need a parent to help). Once you’ve logged in, you can customize your Wizard. Hair color, style, skin and eye colour are all options. Then, the game starts – and instantly you feel like you’re in one of the original three Final Fantasy games. The graphics also remind me a lot of Stardew Valley. This is a great start for a kid’s game.
The game also follows an engaging storyline that gives you purpose. Almost immediately, you’re thrown into combat with a monster. This is where the math starts – to cast your spells, you need to answer a question correctly. If you do, you’ll damage the creature you’re battling. The monster also has a damage phase, so you need to also keep an eye on your health bar. When you win, you get prizes such as coins, experience points, and other equippable gear. You can also collect monsters – Pokémon style. There’s a PVP system that lets you battle your friends who are playing at the same time. And even rewards for daily logins. This is a legit game!
I started out on the grade 8 level, and I’m not exactly proud to admit I got a couple of questions wrong. So, the game does not hold back on being challenging! In my case, I had forgotten the Pythagorean Theorem (quick, hit the comments and tell me if YOU remember before you judge me!) While I didn’t try the other grades (1-7), the grade 8 level proved that this would teach and reinforce your math skills. You won’t find any ‘two plus two is four, minus one that’s three, quick maths!’ here.
Prodigy is a Freemium Game
Prodigy advertises as a free game, and that’s what it is. Your kid can play the game and it won’t cost you anything. That said, there are several different paid upgrades that you’re encouraged to check out. For starters, there’s a monthly membership option for $9/month (or $60/year). Being a member unlocks extra pets you can collect, adds more loot chests to open in-game and adds deeper content. The idea is that with these perks, your child is going to want to keep learning through the regular rewards received.
There are also physical characters that you can buy, starting at $14USD. These characters unlock Epic Spells and other features in-game. The concept is like Nintendo Amiibos or Skylanders…and if you’re a parent in 2017, you know what at least one of those are. Again, the difference here is the educational tie-in, rather than a time sink.
Prodigy for Parents
I also created a Parent account for Prodigy to see what the experience was like. Simply put, it’s well thought out. For starters, you can see how engaged in the game your kid is. You can also track your child’s performance in-game. It’s broken down into a ton of different math categories – enabling you to figure out where your kid might need a little bit of help. This kind of real-time insight can be powerful! I can’t help but wish I had this tool as a kid!
If your school uses the game as an educational tool, you can track their performance in-class too. You can see what they are working on, what they’ve worked on and what lessons they have learned. Also, if you’re a parent who’s a little rusty on your math skills – the lessons also come with a sample to help refresh you on the topic.
Prodigy is a creative, entertaining and valuable tool to make education easier for kids in grades 1 to 8. From a child’s point of view, they will love this. The game is entertaining and offers enough consistent rewards to keep them playing. It makes education far more interesting than writing out equations in a notebook. The social elements also make it competitive with friends. They will aim to have the highest-level character in-game, and subsequently, learn the most. The experience for parents is great too, in that it gives you all the information you need to know if your kid is keeping up and learning. With a freemium model, it’s accessible to anyone with an internet connection. If you’re still not convinced, sit down with your kid to try it out – I guarantee they’ll be hooked on math.
Prodigy just ranked #2 in Deloitte’s Fast 50 Companies, and #9 in the STARTUP 50 list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies – so if you’re looking for an exciting career at one of Canada’s fastest growing start-ups, see a list of open positions at Prodigy Game here.