Review In A Nutshell:
Title: Learning Resources – Factor Frenzy
Overall Rating (1-10): 8
Value (1-10): 8
Flexibility (1-10): 9
Ages/Grades: ages 6+
Review:Factor Frenzy is a math game for children who are learning their multiplication and division facts. It is an electronic talking game featuring a large play mat that children use to solve timed math problems. This game is in the style of “jeopardy” where each player must “buzz in” when they know an answer to a math question and the first player to buzz in gets the first chance at answering the question. If she misses, the next player to buzz in gets a chance. If two players miss, the correct answer is given and a new question beings, regardless of total number of players. There is a bit of strategy involved as well because players lose ten points for every wrong guess and gain ten points for every correct guess. The player with the most points at game end is the winner. Likewise, the game is timed – each question allows ten seconds for a player to buzz in before time is up. Once a player buzzes in, her player number is called and she has a very limited amount of time to punch in the correct answer. Quickness is key in this game!
The game features three games – multiplication, division and a game which combines both in varying order. It also has two play levels. The first level gives questions in normal format (“What is 5 into 15?”, “What is 5 times 4?” and “What is 3 divided by 3?”). The second level gives questions in equation format (What number times 5 will equal 25?). You can also go several rounds before starting over. The game accommodates any number of players between 1 and 4. It requires 3 AA batteries. There is a volume adjuster and also a headphone jack (headphones not included).
What I Loved: I loved the quick pace of the game, the competitive flare that seems to lure kids in whether they like math or not (every one of my six children wandered in when they heard the game on and asked to play), the large game space that allows kids to really get physical and move around, the bright colors, the volume adjuster and the lack of “pieces” to lose. This game is truly portable and easy to store.
What I Didn’t Love: My kids complained several times that they could not understand the voice calling out the numbers. I thought it sounded perfectly clear and suspect they occasionally were just not listening! My bigger complaint is that the pads were not necessarily accurate and this frustrated the kids to no end! For instance, the first child to “buzz in” was often not recorded if they did not hit the pad *exactly right*. Likewise, when they would punch in an answer, sometimes the first number would not depress and the child would go on to the next digit which WOULD depress and therefore record the answer incorrectly (giving them a loss of 10 points instead of a rightfully earned gain). The difficulty of effectively depressing the correct pads seemed to entice the kids to STOMP and PUNCH and POUND on the mat which will probably lead to a more quick demise however it still works just fine as of today!
Tip: This game is best played with a group of skill-matched players. I had a 7, 8 and 9 year old playing the game just fine but throw in a 6 year old who hasn’t memorized any of these facts yet or a 10 year old who has them down pat and the game takes an unfair twist in either direction. This isn’t a game you can really play WITH your child unless your child has already mastered the facts due to the unfair advantage you would have over your child. However it is still fun to play alone. I challenged my 9 year old to beat his own score and that kept him going through several rounds!
Bottom Line: Even with a few functional flaws, this math game is well worth the money spent on it. It is fun, draws out a child’s competitive spirit, throws in a little strategy and is the first game I have found that truly motivates all my different types of learners to memorize their multiplication and division tables.