I found Timez Attack a few weeks ago while hunting for resources. I'd finally clued in to the idea that drilling was not evil, was something my daughter in fact enjoyed and was even required if I wanted her to be well prepared should she go into math, science or card counting in Las Vegas. A lot of what I came across at first wasn't promising. Most of the games were either boring flash card sims or some sort of Asteroids rip off.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Timez Attack. Just take a look and see why:
Now those are graphics! Now I've made sure my kids are exposed to old-school consoles through my gaming consoles collection and emulators but still, my daughter regularly plays Dungeon Siege and Age of Mythology. She's spoiled in terms of what she expects from pixels. But Times Attack delivers. The graphics are smooth, the creatures are well designed and the atmosphere is perfect for a dungeon crawler.
The controls are easy to master, a combination of mouse and keyboard (the tools with which all true gamers work) although just the keyboard can be used. It's really worth a swing through the tutorial at some point as it has some valuable tips including how to brighten the screen and how to use the keyboard-only configuration but what I really liked is that you can go right to the game and hints on how to play will be displayed along the bottom of the screen. They can be easily turned off but for those of us who never have the patience to bother with a tutorial or manual, it's a lifesaver.
Is the game fun? Heck, yes. Is it a good drill program. Heck, yes!
What's at stake for the character is his freedom. Running through the dark stone corridors, passing under flickering torches and battling huge trolls in multiplication drill style for the keys that will help him to freedom has had my daughter on the edge of her seat every time she sat down to play. I can't really say more about the gameplay then that. If it has a seasoned gamer like Catherine begging to play it they obviously got that part right. What I think they also got right was the drilling. A problem is shown, then a picture that represents the equation and then the battle-drill which repeats that problem several times. Next time it's a new equation except that the battle-drill now asks the first and second question. Each drill builds on the previous ones.
The best thing about Timez Attack? The basic version which includes the times tables from 2 to 12 is free! That fact says to me that the developers are pretty confident that not only will the kids love playing the game but that they'll master it fast enough that they'll be begging for more of a challenge. The complete version costs $39 (download, CD is $5 more) which seems a pretty good value to me. Catherine hasn't mastered the free version yet but I don't think it'll be too long before I'm called on upgrade to the complete game.
Timez Attack Website