The Counting Kingdom Review and Giveaway
Until I hit middle school, most of the games my parents let me play growing up were educational. I played games like Freddie the Fish, Putt Putt Goes to the Moon and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? often and obsessively; not even realizing I was actually learning in the process.
That was when video games were a bit...scarcer than they currently are today. If you're kid knows how to use a smart phone or a tablet, they probably already have access to non-educational games. 8-year-old me would much rather play Temple Run than Putt Putt, and many of your children might feel the same way. That said, I would much rather play The Counting Kingdom than any other game on my iPhone, and I'd still choose it over half the games in my Steam library.
The premise of The Counting Kingdom, from Little Worlds Interactive, is simple. There's a kingdom, it's under attack by monsters, and as the Wizard's Apprentice you must use your magical powers to save everyone. Even this simple premise takes on new life through the game's charming art-style.
To save the kingdom, you must defend several castles from attack. This is where the math comes in. The player must click on numbered monsters attacking a castle, and make their sum add up to a "spell" number on the left-hand of the screen.
So in the above scenario, I might click on the monsters "7+1" and select the number eight from the left-hand column. Seems simple enough, right?
As you advance to new castles, new potions and larger numbered monsters come into play. Each level is more difficult than the next, and I found several of the later levels challenging my mental math skills.
As an adult, the puzzle and strategy aspects of the game were captivating. The math wasn't a problem (for the most part) but I was dedicated to earning the full three stars for each level, which involved a good deal of strategy and forethought.
The math itself may initially be challenging for younger children, but the strategy and puzzle aspects add a high level of replayability for when they've mastered the math.
If they just want to focus on the math, there's even a free-play mode where you can select a difficulty and watch monsters advance on you like Tetris. Just play until they eventually overwhelm your castle.
Perhaps what makes the game most fun, is the lack of punishing game mechanics. Yes, you won't get a very good score if you can't repel the monsters from your kingdom, but there are no time limits or perma-deaths to distract you from the core mechanics of the game.
Overall, my experience playing The Counting Kingdom was positively delightful. For the first time since I attempted taking college level Calculus, math felt magical again. Don't you want your kids to feel that way? Don't you want to feel that again?
If the answer is yes (because yes is the correct answer) you're in luck! We are giving away one Steam code for The Counting Kingdom. Tell me what you're favorite educational game was as a kid (or regular game) and you'll be entered to win it. Good luck!