Dimenxian

This ‘mission pack’ teaches children to graph linear equations and understand how co-ordinate systems work. It’s also a lot of fun to play.

You play Kepler Harris – the commander of a special-ops team sent to help Darienne Clay, daughter of the great Dr Robert Clay, contain a ‘bio-digital virus’ that is causing life forms on a remote island to mutate. The data you collect and analyse is used by Darienne to figure out where her father’s research went wrong, by comparing it to his early research linking algebraic structures to natural organisms. Oh, and among the ‘bio-mutes’, as they’re called, is a deadly species called Sentinels bent on your destruction.

There are four separate missions, each one demonstrating different algebraic principles at work. In your first mission, for example, you visit four weather stations to record temperature and time data, and then input that information (all the while defending yourself from Sentinels). Later missions require you to plot basic linear equations, analyse data and perform other simple algebraic functions.

Running around and shooting things is essentially your reward, as it’s not a key part of solving each mission. Darienne reports back to you as you successfully complete each mission, providing a sense of urgency along the way: after all, you have to contain the bio-virus before it seeps into the ocean and destroys all life. To keep things interesting you’re not just running to different grid co-ordinates: you also need to use a jet pack and a tank-like vehicle to complete some missions, so there is some variety to gameplay. None of the action is excessively violent, by the way – you’re netting bio-mutes and measuring them in one activity, for example.

You can log in to record your scores online; Tabula Digita maintains a database of high scores, so you can see how you rank. You’re rated on both your ability to calculate the algebra and your gameplay style, so it’s double the challenge.

OUR VERDICT

Our only complaint about Dimenxian is that it’s very short – with just four lessons to master, you can easily complete the game in a sitting or two. But it’s fun to revisit and play it again. If you have a youngster struggling with algebra, or you’re looking for an educational title that’s likely to appeal to the Xbox crowd, Dimenxian is sure to please.

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