Title: Mudball Wall adapted from The Logical
Journey of the Zoombinis
Playing Time: variable depending on ability
Cost: $ Shareware http://www.broderbu
Number of Players: one
Special Equipment/Facilities Needed: none
Subject Area: Mathematics
Objectives: The goal is to elavate the
Zoombini to the top of the wall by determining the pattern of colors and
shapes using logic and problem solving.
Brief Description: "Mudball Wall" is a
part of a software program of puzzles called "The Logical Journey of the
The target is a wall with a pattern on it. The student shoots
"mudballs" of various colors, with different shapes printed on them, at
the wall to try to match the pattern. Each correct attempt raises
the zoombini on the elevator towards the top of the wall. If successful,
the zoombini gets off at the top of the wall and the play continues to
the next level. The school edition is rated for grades 3-7.
Entry Capabilities Required: Individuals
need to understand the concept of patterns, colors, and shapes. They
also need to be able to use a computer and mouse.
Relevance to objectives: 5 - The game
provides five colors and five shapes to choose from to put on the mudball
and the target wall has the pattern generated at random which, through
logical selection, the student can copy and elevate the zoombini.
Cute, attractive engaging, and entertaining characters help keep the player
focused. The grapics are clear and colorful. The goal of finding
the pattern is maintained.
Provides practice of relevant skills:
2 - Some of the logical reasoning power come basically through trial and
error. This may vary depending on individual's personality.
Likely to arouse/maintain interest: 4
- The game set up is a challenge initially and will keep the student's
interest provided the student can relate to the logical patterns and does
not get frustrated. Once the initial two or three puzzles are solved,
the interest is greatly reduced.
Likely to be comprehended clearly: 3 -
For the most part, the directions are fairly straight forward in that the
player strikes the target to hit the wall. The "buttons" the player
must click on in order to play are not so clearly highlighted when first
beginning, but once found are easy enough to understand and utilize.
Technical quality (durable, attractive):
4 - As shareware download, the product is as good and durable as the user's
equipment. The graphics are clear, colorful, and would keep the attention
of younger children.
Game: Winning dependent on player actions (rather
than chance): 5 - Yes.
If the player does not pick the correct colors and shapes to fit the pattern,
the player will not win.
Simulation: Validity of game model (realistic,
accurate depiction): 2 - I can
not say the game is "realistic" as it uses colored mudballs thrown against
a block wall to focus the problem-solving skills of the player. It is valid
in using problem-solving skills to determine patterns, however the setting
is not a realistic one.
Evidence of effectiveness (e.g. field-test
4 - I would have to say, that even without the realism, the game is
The full game version is rated for grades 3 to 7. Two of my sons,
grades 7 and 10, have yet to get tired of playing it after a two week period.
Clear directions for play: 3 - The directions
are simple and straight-forward, although some players might not understand
them due to the poem-like way they are conveyed. Even so, trail and
error will quickly make the goal clear.
Effectiveness of debriefing: 5
- The little zoombini either reaches the top of the wall after the player
has completed the pattern or it doesn't. The player moves to the next level
or not. The activity and sounds of the zoombini let the player know
if the goal has been achieved.
Can get frustrating for those of us who do not necessarily think in logical
patterns and find ourselves using trial and error thus "getting nowhere
Reviewer: Judith Warren
Position: Non-matriculated graduate student
Computer System Reviewed on: G3233 64MBRAM