What comes to your mind when I say “educational video game”? Depending on what kind of gamer you are probably nothing too good. At best something that only children will probably enjoy and even then not something, they will prefer. Just something they will play because their parents force them too. Hooray for learning right? Well, I have a different idea for that, and the subject of today’s review, Snail Bob, is going to help me illustrate my point. What is that point you ask? Well, that 1. educational games can be fun for more ages than just children or people currently in school, and 2. that they can be fun and successful at actually teaching you skills that may not be a part of the usual school curriculum, but may nonetheless still be very useful to them.
Snail Bob is a simple game about a snail that needs to navigate his way through a series of deadly traps that seeks to burn, electrocute, crush, skewer, and maim our innocent little snail. This game is appropriate for kids I swear. It’s all very cartoony violence, nothing graphic, or scary-looking happens if you lose or fail, in fact, it’s kind of goofy looking. In fact, I’ve probably seen worse on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network when I was a kid.
Bob is always moving, and your job is to click on objects in the environment to keep him safe until he reaches the end tunnel to clear the level. Each level is really short. Like only a few seconds long. To give a simple example, you may have Bob moving and need to move a platform before he falls off a ledge and then also cover an upper ledge so lava doesn’t fall on him from above. Thankfully you can also click on Bob to stop him from moving, or click on the X2 button to make him move a little bit faster.
Now I described this game as “educational” but after hearing that description you may be wondering why. That doesn’t exactly meat the usual ideas of what we think of when we hear the term “educational video game”. Well, let’s think about this for a moment. What makes something educational? If it can teach you or help you develop some sort of skill right? I think that’s a fair enough definition to work with. So how does Snail Bob do any of that?
The game is all about developing quick thinking and reaction timing, many of the levels are next to impossible for most people to figure out on a first playthrough. That’s because most people aren’t used to doing this form of thinking. But I noticed the more I played the faster I could get even with new levels that got more complicated. This encourages a form of creative and analytical thought. The one thing is though, if you’re going to play this game I’d recommend using an actual mouse because playing it with my trackpad I found the game sometimes wasn’t very responsive. That is why I believe games like this, are a great tool to improve learning for people of all ages.