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Jump Numbers app review

In Artgig’s Jump Numbers (2016; iOS only), you play a badger-like creature tasked with getting “Snortles” to safety after the destruction of their home.

The eight levels in each of six different regions (Summer Sea, Fungal Gulf, Arctic Expanse, Boulder Bay, Darkshade, Lava Lake) are set up with basically the same format: you, the badger, must hop from the left side of the screen to the right over a body of liquid using floating numbers. Along the way you attempt to rescue three Snortles adrift in life preservers. As each level opens, you are given an integer to count by; you jump to the next number in the sequence, collecting as many Snortles as you do so.

The counting concepts start off easy enough — counting by 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s. But just when you get comfortable, the app asks you to add numbers to create the correct next step in the sequence. Other challenges include a monstrous “Stomper” or a lit fuse following your path, both of which can take away successfully rescued Snortles if you move too slowly; moving targets; counting by unusual units (3s, 6s, 7s, 11s, 12s); and counting to higher and higher numbers, through mid–triple digits. As you progress through levels, it can be easy to forget which integer you’re supposed to be counting by; there’s a reminder in the top left corner to help keep you on track. As you jump, the available numbers rearrange so that the correct solution is always present (but not necessarily obviously so). If you get stuck, tap the “hint” icon for help.

In addition to saved Snortles, you’re rewarded for each “combo” that adds two or more integers together (including simple negative numbers) and for each successful jump. If you double back across your path, your counting can continue in a different direction to up your jump count. Once an individual level is completed, you have the option to replay to increase your bonuses.

After each section, you attend a beach party with your Snortle friends, complete with the beach balls, fairy lights, DJ and speakers, etc., you’ve earned.

The goofy-cute Snortles’ snorts, ranging from excited to plaintive to terrified, can alert you to approaching danger as you hop along. As they can also be annoying, there’s an option to turn off sound effects and/or music in the options menu. You can also turn off the Stompers/fuses to give yourself more time to think, or manually select which specific skills or number ranges to focus on. The “info” menu provides text instructions and some gameplay tips, and the first level offers a clear animated tutorial.

With friendly graphics, simple navigation, many adaptive but not-too-frustrating levels, and encouragement throughout, this makes an entertaining supplement to primary math curricula.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 8.0 or later); free. Recommended for primary users.

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Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.

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