Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Challenge Me: Maths Workout (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Challenge Me: Maths Workout on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

With Nintendo paving the way for edutainment titles on DS with software like Brain Training and Maths Training, it's of little surprise that other publishers would want to ride the gravy train and get a piece of the dosh. Oxygen Games has previously released Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles, and now the series has returned with Challenge Me: Maths Workout. Is the end result a Sudoku-beater, or a numerical error?

Maths Workout offers two different styles of figure crunching in the forms of Formulate! and Hidden Logic. Both of these modes use 'cards' that display singular numbers, their appearance altered to adhere to the rules of each game, and both require all players to choose a character to represent them. For each game, clicking and dragging cards on the touch screen is as simple as can be; no need to write the numbers here.

Hidden Logic is a simple guessing game. Up to four people can play, all against all or pairs, and each take a turn guessing the numbers (consisting of values from 0 to 11) of the reverse sides of the other player(s) cards. The turn order goes in a clockwise direction of the player positions, with the one who picked the lowest value card-number at the start kicking off the game. Each player has a row of black and white cards in front of them, and after each turn draws another from the stack in front of them. It is up to the other player(s) to guess the number on the reverse of whichever opponent's card they select, with only two traits being of any help; face-up and face-down cards being organized in lowest-to-highest order, and the same number not being allowed to be duplicated on another card of the same colour. A correct guess allows the player to either choose to estimate another card, or pass and collect an extra card to keep the opponent guessing longer. 10 points are awarded for a correct guess; whoever has the most after all cards have been turned over wins.

Although getting the grasp of this game's rules at first is far from simple, mainly because the in-game explanation is rather poor, it isn't too difficult with a little trial and error. Working it out in the first place is relatively pointless, however, because Hidden Logic's enjoyment level is extremely limited. Guessing the opponent's cards correctly at first feels quite rewarding, but after many more tries at what is essentially a guessing game with minor clues, any fun goes flying out the window.

Screenshot for Challenge Me: Maths Workout on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There are a couple of variations of this mode, Guess Hidden Logic, and Challenge Me. Guess Hidden Logic offers a selection of 100 individual puzzles that require the player to guess face-down cards; seemingly a potentially life-extending feature for this game, it ended up as mere child's play, cleared in no time at all, with minimal pondering and effort. Challenge Me also gives multiple scenes, this time in the form of scenarios wherein the player is put against the computer, with a different task required to finish to complete each one. This mode follows the main rules of Hidden Logic, but it is slightly more engaging because of the need to consider every move carefully - although it is still a very boring process, even on optional harder difficulties.

Formulate! keeps the cards format and injects multiplication, subtraction, addition and division into the mix. Following the same turn and draw rules as Hidden Logic, the player is given four number cards in various colours (no need for any cards face down or colour co-ordination here), each with a random mathematical symbol preceding the number, and has to make an equation with them. Depending on the settings, the player is given ample time to re-organize the order of the cards into a bar that holds three value cards (and subsequently hides the value of the first card in the row) with the fourth card as the end result. Though Formulate! follows a different main rule, it is very similar to Hidden Logic in both presentation, function and, most unfortunately, fun factor. Although it is much more difficult than the latter, Formulate! isn't any more entertaining, and even more limited in its variations; there's just another Challenge Me option, again offering difficulty levels with some scenarios.

And that's pretty much all Maths Workout offers: two main modes with branching features, and slightly adjustable settings like number of rounds, stereotypical selectable characters, and number limiters. Both Hidden Logic and Formulate! can be played in local wireless with only one game card needed; transition between systems is seamless, but even with two or more human players both modes are still mundanely boring. Math Workout is what it is, an extremely limited budget package with an identity crisis; the main modes are much too complicated for the youngest player, yet extremely easy and boring for the older gamer.

Screenshot for Challenge Me: Maths Workout on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Hidden Logic provides the real meat of the package, although it's a raw steak, and Formulate! is equally as dull. There is little else besides these two modes.

Graphics

Extremely simple presentation, with crystal-clear text and pictures. Interface provides simple navigation and regular mode explanations, although these aren't very clear on meaning.

Sound

One main annoying looping theme on the main menu, another for every match, and that's your lot. The odd sound effect every now and then helps remind you that you're playing a videogame.

Value

Only two main modes with limited extras in each. Multiplayer support helps add longevity, but nowhere near enough to justify even a budget tag like the one this game holds.

Cubed3 Rating

Challenge Me: Maths Workout is a rare beast in that it seeks to appeal to all, yet does nothing but alienate all of its potential audience. Consisting only of two incredibly limited modes, neither of which particularly suited to any age group, and featuring little else, Maths Workout is a hard sell to recommend over that of other notable number-featuring brain ticklers like Brain Training or Professor Layton.

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21.06.2009

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Developer

Oxygen

Publisher

Oxygen

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date TBA   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date TBA   

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Shame, as the first Challenge Me was apparently quite good. Smilie Thanks for the review Shane.

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