Math to the Rescue for iPhone and iPad(and also available for Android) is that rarest of beasts, an educational game that has had actual, real effort put into it. Tasking you with adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying in order to help rescue teams help people in various emergency situations.
The situations range from guiding a helicopter to help sailors stranded in the ocean, an ambulance to find trapped earthquake survivors to piloting a (yellow) submarine to help divers in the deep ocean.
Despite the differences in scenarios, most of the time you will be doing essentially the same thing. Each person that needs help is numbered, and also on a rule. Your rescue craft starts on a certain number on the rule, and you must correctly either add or subtract to get the craft to move to the right numbers, with more complicated sums coming later on. You can switch the visual clues on or off in the settings, and also opt to use multiplication and division if you want a bit more of a challenge.
You are timed on each level, with the game keeping a track of the best scores for every stage. Despite the inherent repetitiveness here, the look and attention to detail has won me over in this game.
All the characters are tiny, but wonderfully animated 2D sprites, and the way that the little vehicles chug around is great. Even the menus have had love and care put into them, with a chopper flying in with your level options. The water effects deserve some praise as well. OK, this maybe isn’t the most amazing set of graphics you will ever see, but if you have an eye for detail, then there is a lot to love here.
There are enough levels to keep learners occupied for a while, and the high score tracking for each stage is welcome, and there are a few options to mess around with.
The main problem I have with the game is the repetition. I understand that repetition is a cornerstone of learning, but really, I feel that some gameplay variety of some kind would have done wonders here.
Overall, this is still a great educational game. With buckets of charm and basic gameplay that is actually pretty addictive, and a decent smattering of options to cater for all skill levels, this is only let down by a lack of variety. Still, charming and clever.