We love history. We love puzzles and games; logic and critical thinking exercises. After all, isn’t the goal of home education to help our children learn HOW to think? So, I was super excited to have a chance to review two games that encompass all of these things and now I can say we have fallen in love with Dig-It! Games; particularly Roman Town (iOS App) and Mayan Mysteries (Online Game).
The first game, Roman Town (iOS App) is specifically for Apple devices but the second game, Mayan Mysteries (Online Game) is designed for the computer (it also worked for us on our tablet, just not Apple devices). There is an iOS app version of Mayan Mysteries although this was not a part of our review.
This app is a free download in the Apple App store, however in order to complete the game in-app purchases are required. For the purpose of the review, we received the in-app purchases. This one does require iOS 8.0 or later and states it is solely compatible with the iPad only.
Roman Town begins in Pompeii. This is a mystery game which teaches both history and logic/critical thinking skills, while also exercising spatial reasoning, memory, math, and so much more!! As you go through the game clues are provided, often requiring the player to complete a mini-game puzzles as they track a thief named Ladrone. With these puzzles and games they learn about Roman history, architecture, Roman numerals, historical design of the city and aqueducts (engineering), word roots and even daily life as it was in this ancient civilization.
This game is designed for ages 9-11, and it does meet the Common Core standards for grades 5-8. This is great for any and all lovers of puzzles and history; even my almost six year old son enjoyed some of these games as we completed parts of the game together 🙂
My oldest son especially loved all of the ancient games within this app. As he tracked Ladrone and talked to tourists in Pompeii he received clues , often having to play a game to get the clue. Every one of them was a great exercise in logic and strategic thinking. Happy Momma Here ❤
What a fun way to learn history, practice mathematics, and explore the ancient world of Rome! My oldest son really loved learning and practicing reading Roman numerals in these amazingly fun challenges! I admit to taking some turns myself; we are hooked!
Mayan Mysteries is a fully loaded online game based in seven real-life Mayan excavation sites. Cool right? The game is designed for grades 5 through 9 (ages 11 and up) and while it is playable for younger children, some of the puzzles are quite involved. For the younger ones, it is best if we do it together~
The game begins as a comic book in the style used to introduce the player to the characters and the plot, of the game. As you play, you follow along with an archeologist and his niece and nephew who are trying to save the mythical city of Ich’aak from looters. There are puzzles to complete, and as you do, you collect clues from the various excavation sites which were looted to move on (there are 25 puzzles in all throughout the whole game).
As the game progresses there are amazing details to be learned of the Mayan people and their culture, the excavation sites themselves, the Mayan calendar, even math! The puzzles offer lots of opportunities for critical, logical thinking; this is a great way to exercise the mind of any history lover if you ask me!
The game autosaves too, which is a huge benefit for us, since my oldest would at times get frustrated and need a break from playing. But you can go back to re-read the clues that have been collected, view achievements and artifacts found, even replay some of the puzzles to raise your score. It can all be played again and again too 🙂 Makes for lots of fun!
My boys just could not get enough of Roman Town; they worked together, sometimes we played as a family even, replaying some of the games or just reading the clues and facts provided. For my oldest son, some of the puzzles were a bit easier for him than expected (a nice challenge for my younger son) but there were also plenty of other games that really made him think. We love a good challenge around here.
I was super impressed with how much we all learned from these games. As I said they are full of fun learning and this is an excellent addition to our history lessons!
Even though these games are independent of one another, the characters and story line with the thief, Ladrone, makes a bit more sense after playing Mayan Mysteries. The story in Roman Town was much simpler, less involved than the one in Mayan Mysteries, which I think my older son preferred. But there is a new appreciation gained from playing Mayan Mysteries first; regardless they are both excellent games to be enjoyed no matter how you play them.
The games and puzzles are all a part of the Roman or Mayan history and culture so these are not your typical online games to play. Each ones relates in some way to either the Mayan or the Roman times. For example:
- Code Breaker: Try to determine the 4-digit code to unlock a safe to reveal a clue.
- Knucklebones: Similar to a dice game but using bones instead of dice; a game of chance.
- Jigsaw: Assemble the jigsaw pieces to complete a picture. Could be a painting, a drawing, an ancient tool…just move the pieces into place. Many puzzles had about 8-10 pieces, but some had more. My younger son (he is 6) really liked this one!
- Pipes: Another favorite of my younger son; figure out how to put the joints and pipe pieces together underground to connect and complete the flow of water to the surface. Both boys loved this; would have been fun if it increased in difficulty though.
- Maze: Tilt your device to move a ball through the maze. It could be have been more challenging said my 9 year old son but my younger boy just loved it! As did my daughter who is four.
- Calculi: A popular Roman board game, it looks like a checkerboard but is similar to tic tac toe but with five in a row. The boy played this one again and again. They really enjoy strategy games like this one, and I had to pry them away from this one.
Overall, we definitely recommended either of these educational games for encouraging and enhancing critical thinking skills through game play. And the fun little facts that they will learn along the way are a great bonus!