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The Counting Kingdom (Mac) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Formats: Mac, PC
 
Genre: ,
 
Year:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
8.0
8/ 10


User Rating
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We liked?


An engaging tower defense game that uses math as its main weapon.

Not so much?


You aren't always informed of rules changes.


Final Fiendish Findings?

As you might have guessed from its descriptive title, The Counting Kingdom is a math game. Wait, wait…before you run screaming from the review, bear with me here. The Counting Kingdom is a math game your kids are actually going to want to play. Using a tower defense mechanic and colorful backgrounds and characters, Little […]

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Posted August 15, 2014 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

As you might have guessed from its descriptive title, The Counting Kingdom is a math game. Wait, wait…before you run screaming from the review, bear with me here. The Counting Kingdom is a math game your kids are actually going to want to play. Using a tower defense mechanic and colorful backgrounds and characters, Little Worlds Interactive has created a truly educational game that sucks you in and keeps you playing, even if simple math is just a distant memory.

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You play as a simple young wizard’s apprentice who has suddenly been given the daunting task of saving the entire kingdom. Terrible monsters are approaching, and you’ll need to destroy them before they reach the castle doors, a la Plants vs. Zombies. Instead of various fun plants, though, you’ll be using the power of math to destroy these marauding monsters. The aforementioned counting kingdom that needs saving is a series of castles laid out on a map. You’ll travel from castle to castle, advancing to the next one on the map only after vanquishing the monsters attacking the castles preceding.

The game board for each castle is set up in a grid pattern, with the walls of the castle on the left, and monsters approaching from the right. The monsters can reach the castle walls, but if they break through them you’ll have to start the level over.  The monsters move in board game style, with no more than one step forward per turn, making it easy to see which areas of the walls lie in peril – nice for a kids’ game, as it gives them plenty of time to try to vanquish those pesky monsters.

And how do you rid your delightful kingdom of those not so delightful monsters? Here’s where the math comes in. Each of the monsters is assigned a number. As a fledgling wizard, you do have some spells at your disposal. On the left side of the screen, you can see the three spells that you have at your disposal. These spells are simply numbers – to use them, you must select any number of monsters that, when combined, will equal the number on the spell. The monsters must be touching in order to be combined, but other than that you are limited only to your level of math skills.

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You can use a “3” spell to take out a single monster of “3” value, or combined three monsters assigned a “1” value. You can combine your spells as well, adding say “8” and “5” to go for “13”, which will help you rack up more points. You also get a points bonus for clearing the screen completely in one move (although high points get you little more than a high score, many kids will enjoy the instant gratification nonetheless). If you simply cannot come up with any way to make your spells and the current monsters work, you can discard a spell to get a new one, but it will cost you a precious turn.

As the game progresses, so do your abilities. In addition to your three spells, you also have a chest of potions. These ranges from adding and subtracting from a monster’s assigned number (helpful to hit just the right sum), to assigning a value of “0” to a monster, to freezing an entire row of monsters for a few turns. These are helpful in many ways, both because they can get you out of a tight, and because it gives kids even more chances to perform math in any way they see fit. It really gets you think of all the possibilities, of all the many ways you can come to a certain number.

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I really enjoyed The Counting Kingdom, as it shows that educational doesn’t have to mean “super not fun”. It has a simple to understand tower defense mechanic that is easy to master but offers a lot in the way of creativity – there is no one true solution to any of the levels, so you can really make it your own. My only real complaint is that the game doesn’t always let you know when things progress – for instance, in the beginning the game allows you to only reach a sum of twenty. At some point that restriction is limited but you won’t know it until you figure it out on your own. It’s a minor annoyance in a game that is otherwise really quite engaging, so don’t let that hold you back. The Counting Kingdom is a perfect fit for the young gamer in your household.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)