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Monday, August 24, 2015

Game Review - The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis

This game was a blast to play back in the 90s. The zoombinis are cute little cartoon guys that you have to help. They're trying to escape the evil fleens and reach zoombiniville, a utopia for zoombinis. To get them there, you have to get them through nine different challenges, including making pizzas for Arlo the Pizza Troll.

Great news! Zoombinis are back and native for tablets. Desktop versions are supposed to release very soon. I backed the kickstarter for this last spring and I'm very glad. The game is every bit as much fun as I remember.

Since I'm doing research into educational games, among other things, I have to tack on the educational value review. The game teaches logical thinking, set theory, computational thinking, if-then statements, arrays, and a host of other things along the same lines. But it does it implicitly, as part of the game. Nowhere does it beat you over the head with the educational values. In fact, it goes too far to the other extreme. My son and I were discussing this and decided that the decorative loading screens could be easily changed to an explanatory and/or trivia screen that would make the learning a little more explicit. It wouldn't take much, just a very short paragraph pointing out the if-then structure of the allergic cliffs puzzle. It could even be presented as game hints.

There is a lot of educational value buried in this game. It's one of the absolute best logic games I've ever played. It's cute, it's fun, it ranges from easy to extremely challenging. It has a couple of minor things that bug me, but overall, it's an A+ game, well worth playing.

Go check it out.

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