The world is dark. The spirits of the earth have been wrongly imprisoned, turned into corrupted versions of themselves. Now, we wait for the light to restore balance...wait...what? This is a math game?!
The folks at Learning Games Labs (the developers at New Mexico State University, creators of Game Over Gopher) have done it again. They have managed to make math both fun and stylish with their latest game, Gate. While the game starts with a charming story, and the gameplay is often fast and frantic, it is teaching a basic math principal with every key stroke. You begin the game by choosing your gender and approaching a gate. A repeating visual tutorial shows you how to begin... tap out every number you see to fire a missile from your staff. Each monster carries at least one number which must be targeted in order to defeat them, and they can fly, explode into multiple monsters, or just fool you into thinking they are moving too slowly to reach you. In the first level you are responsible for one digit numbers, in level 2 you see two digit numbers, and so forth, and so on as the levels progress, but that's just the beginning.
With only 16 levels, it's only going to take a couple of break-times to finish, but you get lots of content in a short space. As a math edugame, its purpose is to teach the importance of number place and introduce decimal points. As a beautiful logic game, it becomes a crazy-tapping race against freakish corrupted spirits who can hit you for all they are worth. Literally. Each level offers a new level of complexity. Adding is balanced by subtracting, tens and hundreds are made more difficult by decimal points, number stones can complicate your system. Every few levels you meet a boss as well, and you learn a little more of the story. And as we would expect from game artist extraordinaire, "CC" Chamberlain, the art is gorgeous, stylistic, and modern. It's one of the main reasons you'll keep coming back to this developer for your own casual gameplay fix.