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Mathland review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Artax Games
Developer: Artax Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

As a near-middle-aged male, I’m clearly not the target demographic for Mathland. After all, as you can probably guess from the name, it’s an educational game for younger gamers about math. While math was never my strongest subject back when I was in school, I’m decent enough at it that I can’t say the problems on offer here taxed me too much.

That said, I think Mathland is a decent game, even if it doesn’t quite achieve what it sets out to do.

The good news first, though: the math parts here are pretty fun. You have to earn telescopes to unlock levels, and to do that you solve lots and lots of math problems. Pretty basic math, to be sure — no need for BEDMAS here, it’s just question after question of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division — but still plenty of math problems that you have to solve as a timer ticks down. Better still, they’re age-appropriate, so that a 6-year-old won’t get the same questions as a 36-year-old, and a 28-year-old would see different questions than an 8-year-old. Whether you’re the parent of a child just learning their numbers, or someone who just enjoys doing basic math in a timed environment, Mathland delivers on that front.

Where it feels like Mathland is a little less strong is in the “-land” part of the title. It’s an isometric-platformer, and it’s not as user-friendly as, say, a straight-up 2D (or 3D) platformer would be. There are some awkward jumps all over the place, and you can never be absolutely certain you’re going to go in the direction you intend to go. My own memories of playing games when I was super-young are a little fuzzy, but, at the same time, I’ve watched my 3-year-old niece as she’s starting to play video games, and I have some doubts as to whether younger gamers would be able to adapt to the gameplay here in the same way they could a more traditional-looking platformer.

Still, there’s no doubt Mathland is good as edutainment goes, and using math problems as a way to unlock more “fun” levels is a good way to make players stick to doing math (though, as far as I’m concerned, it was the math problems that were the real reward). It may not be the first game you give to a young gamer as they start playing the Switch, but it’s still worth getting it for them eventually.

Artax Games provided us with a Mathland Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B+