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M&M's: The Lost Formulas

Simon & Schuster Interactive

for ages 5 to 10

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
Kid Appeal
Ease of Use

M&M's: The Lost Formulas Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

M&M's: The Lost Formulas is a highly animated, arcade-style game, with an optional math facts component. Got that?

The setting: Yellow and Red go on a vacation, butYellow mistakenly left the M&M Minis in charge. The problem? The Minis tear up the place, and lose the formulas! Yellow must race back to (and then through) the factory, trying to make things right.

The arcade component of M&M's: The Lost Formulas is near state-of-the-art in terms of sound and animation. Road races, crossing obstacle courses, multiple directions of motion and more, challenge the hand-eye coordination of the user. Left to its default setting, users only encounter math problems during a portion of the journey. Luckily for those looking for educational value, the program offers the option of only journeying thru the Math Zone. Here, users still encounter substantial coordination challenges, but the frequency of math practice problems is greatly increased.

Educational Value
The Lost Formulas does not really teach math; rather, it provides math facts practice opportunities. Users (or their parents) can select a mathematical operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) and a difficulty level, then the program uses those parameters to select appropriate practice problems. Unfortunately, although the packaging claims that the program is targeted for ages 5 to 10, all of our reviewers felt that nine and 10 were probably a stretch. The hardest problems they encountered in a week of regular play, used the number 12.

Kid Appeal
The Lost Formulas was a long duration winner with our eight and 10 year old reviewers. This program has the classic, addictive appeal of popular arcade games, where users can while away hours in what they feel are just a few moments. Interestingly, our reviewers were equally willing to play the entire game in "math" mode. Unfortunately, we suspect that's because the math problems were simple enough not to cause them lost progress within the game.

Ease of Use / Install
M&M's: The Lost Formulas installed easily on our Windows 98 test machine - but be warned, the program requires at least a moderate performance graphics board for best results. The program is easy to use, in terms of navigation -- but portions require very good hand-eye-mouse coordination!

Best for... / Bottom-Line
M&M's: The Lost Formulas presents a bit of a dilemma -- the hand-eye coordination required by the arcade component of the program makes the program better suited for 9-10 year-olds, but the math component is better suited for 5-8 year-olds. That said, this program was equally appealing to boys and girls, and offered great repeat playability.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other Math software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions of this program.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98, Pentium 233 or faster cpu, at least 10 MB hard drive space, 64 MB RAM, 3D Graphics Accelerator Card (8MB or higher) with Glide, Direct 3D or Open GL drivers 4x CD-ROM or better, Windows-compatible sound card, Mouse, gamepad (optional).

Mac: iMac™/Power Macintosh® G3 266mhz or faster, at least 10 MB hard drive space, 64 MB RAM or more, 3D Graphics Accelerator Card (6MB or higher) with OpenGL or QuickDraw 3D drivers, 4x CD-ROM or better, Mouse, gamepad (optional).

Reviewed on:

  • PentiumII-450 with 128MB and 24xCD
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