Drifting through space, being a pirate, looking to save your friend, and learning along the way? Numbala is a stunning mobile game that works as a cognitive training tool for children aged 8–12 years old.
Masked as fun arcade game, Numbala has you moving your ship up and down the screen, avoiding environmental hazards, blasting boxes, and trying to move forward. It all happens while subtly learning! Moving your ship is where most of this happens — as you can control moving up and down the screen by selecting the correct number.
Coins are dotted throughout the lane that you should be in — which at first have simple numbers on them. Over time, they start to have dots, forcing you to count quickly before moving to that lane. You still need to time your movements to avoid the environment, but there is an element of thinking before you move. Eventually, you end up having to do simple math to figure out the the numbers you need to enter to change to the right lane!
As the game progresses, boxes appear in the only gap that you can fly through — forcing you to figure out which lane it is in and blast it before moving on. Hitting boxes, or any aspect of the world around you will damage you, taking away some of your lives.
Though there is learning involved, Numbala is a super lovely, well made game about exploring your way through majestic worlds. I had the chance to play a few worlds in the game at Casual Connect and didn’t even realize the educational benefits until I was onto the math problems.
According to their website, Numbala is currently out on the Google Play store, but is coming to the App Store and Nintendo Switch soon!