Review: Numbala for Nintendo

Lockdown has inevitably led to more screen time for many children – it may be wishful thinking but wouldn’t it be fantastic if some of that screen time could be harnessed for 11-plus preparation?

One game that purports to teach children maths is Numbala for Nintendo designed in cooperation with neuroscientists and tested on more than 100 children. 

Numbala takes the player on an adventure to save a dog friend while chasing a mysterious space whale in a fantasy world. Solving simple maths equations is the key to survival.

The first 12 levels are dedicated to matching dots in a disc to numbers which my nine-year-old son found tedious.

Spatial-numerical association – matching dots with numbers – is considered the basis for the understanding of arithmetic, according to the Polish creator of the game Neurodio.

This was included for younger children or those who have difficulties in acquiring mathematical competence, said Neurodio’s Mirosław Manelski.

However, I am not sure my son would have made it through those levels had we not had time to kill outside on an exceptionally sunny day during lockdown.

After these levels there are some simple maths problems to solve.

The game – and the company is adamant it is a game as opposed to an educational application – isn’t marketed to any particular age group.

Research has shown the best range for Numbala is age seven to ten, Neurodio said.

While the game might prove a useful tool for children in reception, year 1 or year 2, children older than this may find the game too basic.

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