Rating

• iPhone
• Paid
• age 5+

The popular 'Tower Defense' genre of game is employed in this app to provide arithmetic practice.  Players find the answer to simple arithmetic questions to earn gold.  Gold builds defences.  Defences save your tower from the attackers.  Mental maths skills improve.

This app's title tells you what its content is all about - if you know your way around popular computer games.  The 'Math' and 'Addition' elements make it clear that it covers numeracy and, in particular, addition.  The 'Defense' is informative if you know what a Tower Defense game is.

Skip this paragraph if you've ever held off hordes of slow and relentless invaders by setting up defences for your tower.  A Tower Defense game sees you placing a variety of weaponry items to chip away at the health of the advancing attackers.   The weapons are limited by some form of resource so you need to determine where to place them for maximum protective efficiency.

Combine maths and this sub-genre of game and you have Math Defense Addition.  This app joins the two together by making the answering of addition questions the method by which gold coins are generated.  These gold coins are the resource that limits or allows the installation of the armed turrets and other weapons.  Each weapon has a cost that increases as the game progresses.

The app's look and feel are excellent.  Graphics, animation, and sound are up there with any modern game - it is great to look at and to hear.  The controls are simple to understand and responsive to use.  A selection of difficulty levels is available to set the challenge for the player.  These appear to define the strength of the attackers rather than the level of the maths as might be expected.

It is inevitable when combining a game with maths that the educational part will feel somewhat bolted on.  It does so here to some extent but still works surprisingly well - to begin with.  Splitting the player's attention between the game and the maths pushes the player to use and develop mental arithmetic strategies and shortcuts.   Correct answers add to the gold whereas incorrect answers deduct it.  This is a wise rule that prevents random answering.

The questions are all multiple choice.  Three potential answers are offered.  They're randomly generated and sometimes two of them are the same which is not ideal for maintaining the challenge.

I expected to reach a frenetic pace where my maths and gameplay worked together to save my tower.  Unfortunately, the game is very short and the progression of the arithmetic limited.  There are five waves of attack before victory is declared.  Another level with harder maths was expected but this was not to be.  The addition questions seem set to never exceed somewhere in the twenties and the player is dropped straight back to the title screen after the fifth wave.

With persistent answering of questions, the coffers were full of gold and every turret filled with a weapon before the fifth wave arrived.  Once you know that is it and there will be no further opportunity to use the gold or attempt another level, you are essentially just watching a game play itself.

This is an app with promise and, hopefully, will be updated to fulfil its potential. More levels, progression in the maths, and improved balance within the levels are needed.  As it stands, the app is fun and will give a quick burst of simple addition practice but it has very limited longevity.

App Details

iPhone

Safeguarding

In-App Purchases - No