Crunch: The Game
The power of math compels you.
Spilt Milk Studios' Crunch: The Game looks like something you'd see in Nintendo's Brain Age series, or at the very least, Personal Trainer: Math. This intriguing puzzler tasks you with combining numbered blocks to reach desired totals, whereupon which you "crunch" said blocks to make them disappear before moving on to the next sum. Cool idea, but a critical flaw prevents this free App from being educational.
For the most part, Crunch is a good time. It's sort of like Tetris in the sense that you prevent the constantly falling blocks from reaching the top of the screen. The math element, though, adds an interesting wrinkle to the usual block clearing formula.
Instead of maneuvering blocks to create lines, you tap them to add, subtract, multiply and divide. If the game throws a 21 onto the right side of the screen, it's your job to highlight a group of numbers that, when combined, equal that total. Three 7s will do it, or you can reach 22 and then subtract one, so long as those options are available. That's the catch. Sometimes, you don't have the easiest opportunity, which forces you to wait until it appears or come up with a different way.
That said, and for whatever reason, the developers display your progress. If you need to make 15 and already selected ten and four, you'll see a 14 directly above the 15. The total rises and falls in real time.
Why is this a big deal? Well, it kills the purpose of learning math. There's little to no skill in randomly pressing buttons and waiting until you combine the right numbers.
Don't get us wrong. There's still a bit of thought involved, particularly in the game's Race mode, where you complete chains in the quickest time possible. The developers just missed the point of helping players sharpen their skills.
Sadly, the fact that Crunch has been out since May with no announced updates to remove the annoying calculator (or at least switch it off), suggests it will remain the way. That aside, the game is still worth a look, especially since it's free.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
What's Hot: Free, addictive, challenging.
What's Not: Seeing your progress, not a universal App.