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Outlet

Released: 2004-03-12

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Zoombinis Mountain Rescue by Avanquest Software

Software Details

Brand: Avanquest SoftwareHardware Platform: PCOperating System: Windows XP
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Description

Zoombinis are little blue guys and gals that inhabit a kingdom reminiscent of JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth, and ingeniously teach maths principals using puzzles instead of numbers. In the Zoombinis Mountain Rescue CD-ROM a group Zoombinis gets trapped in a cave, and it's up to players to organise a search party that can withstand the logical travails of a journey through this perilous and quirky terrain. There are nine "obstacles" along the rescue route. Players cross a bridge of turtles by sorting Zoombini search-party members by nose colour, hairstyle or other characteristics. Deducing (again based on features) which Zoombini can snowboard down which path furthers the mission as well. The search party is held up briefly in a cafeteria where it must use logic to wait on Norfs who drop oblique hints about what they want, or don't want to order. Each game will stretch your child's ability to use forethought and analysis to assess a situation. Even the easiest of the three levels is designed to be challenging, so be prepared to help out along this creative and strenuous path.

The genius of this Windows-only program is that it turns sophisticated mathematical concepts into engrossing activities. We played a game called "Boolie Boggle" endlessly--Boolies either smile or frown, and in this game, the object is to change frowns into smiles by bumping Boolies with pinballs. Pretty easy until you start getting chains of Boolies and chains of pinballs. Soon your mind is throbbing as you try to figure out what a sequence of three pinballs will do to two frowning Boolies. "Binary addition" sounds pretty intimidating, but that's exactly what "Boolie Boggle" is teaching. "Algebraic thinking" and "information-age maths" are among the other things this program teaches--mercifully, it manages it with little creatures and 3-D mazes instead of formulas and numbers.

As this journey unfolds, members of the search party drop off due to mismatched noses, wrong path choices and other errors. Fortunately, there is a practice mode where kids can play the games without sacrificing their Zoombini friends. Puzzles change elements, so there's no way to "learn" a level then repeat it by rote. There is also a very thorough parents' guide, which is helpful for parents who have, err, forgotten about binary numbers. Zoombinis Mountain Rescue is a gentle, yet challenging program that will probably even work its subtle magic on maths-phobes. --Anne Erickson

Platforms

Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows Me, Windows XP

More Details

Publisher: Avanquest SoftwareCategory: OutletBinding: CD-ROM

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