Monkey Tales, by Larian Studios, is a game geared towards kids in grades 2 through 6. This is actually a collection of games, by the same name, brought together to give you all those different grades in one nicely wrapped package. In each of these grade levels you will get to select a character that will be used to traverse through different levels. You will not only get to follow along with a story, but you will also find that you are on a 3D adventure that actually teaches you along the way. In every single grade section you will have to journey through levels filled with traps, obstacles, bananas, and of course troublesome monkeys. Each section is comprised of many levels that you will have to conquer, and the only way to accomplish that is to defeat the monkeys in educational games.
Graphically this looks like a very good looking game. No offense, but most educational games aren't known for looking cool and interesting, but I do have to say that with the added elements of collecting the bananas, taking on the other puzzles of the levels, and just the though and touches put into each level makes this look like an actual game that has some educational components to it, and not the other way around. You will find yourself in all kinds of different settings through out the game, but there is one constant. You are always in a locked area/room, that you cannot get out of until you face off against the monkey.
Now lets get down to the music and sounds of the game. Once again, just like the graphics that went into the game it feels polished. You have a helpful guiding voice that will make her presence known when need be. You also have music that fits into the area that the current level you are playing on.
As stated before this is an educational game that is centered around math. This is definitely a workout for kids in grades 2 through 6, and I have to admit that a person of my age is going to have a workout as well. You see there's more to it than just knowing the answers, this game makes you formulate the answer in a speedy fashion. You see the games you are playing against the monkey are not turned based, but real time games. You do not only have to figure out the answer, but you are going to need to select/find the answer before the computer/monkey does. You you will battle the monkey until one of you gets the desired amount of points for victory. If you end up being the victorious one, you will find that the door to exit the area that you are currently in is now open.
Now I do want to say, since I did point it out previously, that there's also another more game component to this, and to be honest the more I think about it, the more I can see that this is problem solving of a different type. When you find yourself in the area/level, you will notice that there are bananas that you can collect, I highly recommend that you collect all of them on each level. Now in order to do that you are going to have to have to figure out the puzzle of the level. Sometimes its just a matter of navigating around the area/level, but most of the time you are going to have to activate magnets, move boxes, dodge laser beams, and more. So if you are looking to have your child, or yourself, given an even greater challenge than just the monkeys, try to solve the entire area/level, and collect all the bananas.
Each grade section has a different story to tell, and different levels and areas to navigate through. My one wish is that we did not have to see the progression on the map between each level. At first you can definitely see it as a rewarding look at how you are progressing, but after a while, especially since you have to load to that screen, and then back in without really doing anything but watching your character move an inch or two on the map, it really takes away from the game. There's also a zoo component to each of these grade sections, this is where the monkeys that you have defeated are located, at least that's what you are lead to believe, but in reality once you have solved enough of the area/levels you will notice that the number of monkeys no longer increases, which kind of confuses players/students of all ages.
Now with all of this said I have to say it is refreshing to see a game with this kind of educational value potential formed in a way that will be fun and exciting for students/players. I remember playing games like this when I was in school, and it is good to see that there are at least some developers out there who understand that to make a game educational you don't have to make it bland, you can make it feel like an adventure in which a person can feel accomplishment, and have fun learning and honing their skills. This game, or I should say bundle of games, gets an 8.9 out of 10.