Mayan Mysteries by Dig-It Games (review)
There is nothing better than having summer vacation start with a new video game for those days when it’s just-too-hot to be outside! The Mayan Mysteries Online Game is an experience in interactive archaeology from Dig-It Games, who previously brought us the award-winning Roman Town. (See our review of Roman Town.)
Who is Mayan Mysteries for?
Designed for grades 5-9, Mayan mysteries does include information on warfare and sacrifice, as these were an integral part of Mayan life. However, no violent or graphic images are shown.
Both my just-turned-11 daughter and 13-year-old son played it through, and neither found anything they considered objectionable; their recommendation regarding the lower age range is that the student “read pretty well and be able to do the math, because otherwise, some of the puzzles will be kind of hard.”
For the upper end of the age range, my 13-year-old did say that he thought he was about at the older end – it was interesting, so he kept playing, but there *were* a few things he found silly, borderline too-babyish.
What is Mayan Mysteries about?
You’ll discover the wonders of the ancient Mayan civilization through digging up artifacts, solving puzzles, understanding the Mayan calendar, and more while adventuring with Team Q as they search for thief Ladrone and explore the city of Ich’aak.
The Mayan math system will puzzle you, the story will enchant you, as you follow along with Professor Alex Quinn and his niece and nephew, Fiona and Charlie. This mystery isn’t for the faint of heart; it will take hard work to uncover the lost riches and secrets of the Maya people.
What system requirements do I need to play Mayan Mysteries?
We played the web version, which works in your browser and so is compatible with both PC and Mac computers. It worked equally well on both newer Windows 7 laptops and an old XP desktop, so it’s pretty flexible and forgiving. It’s also available for iPad tablets. (For reviews of the iPad version, click the link at the end of this post.)
How many people can play Mayan Mysteries?
When you purchase a single-user license ($21.99) for Mayan Mysteries, it’s valid for one year from the purchase date. Single-user doesn’t just mean that one person can play it, though – when one child is finished, another one can play!
Mayan Mysteries isn’t just for homeschoolers
It’s for anyone who enjoys game-delivered learning, and best-of-all, the kids don’t even need to know it’s educational. Just forget to tell them that part, and watch them have fun and learn lots about the ancient Mayan civilization while they’re at it!
How do you use Mayan Mysteries?
If you’re using the online version, it’s easy. Simply purchase, then log in once you receive your activation code, and you’re ready to go. If you want to see what gameplay is like, there’s a free demo of Mayan Mysteries, and I encourage you to try it out before purchase. If you let the kids try it out, be prepared for begging and pleading… and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
How we used Mayan Mysteries
Way, way too fast. The kids were so *into* it that they wanted to play it straight through – and so it only lasted each about three days on their first trip through the game. Afterwards, of course, since they’d broken some artifacts and wanted to better their scores, they’ve been taking a much more leisurely trip through the Mayan civilization.
In fact, that was their only complaint – they wanted more. More, more, more. I have to admit, they’re right – it *is* on the short side, even for a web-based game – and that makes me feel like it’s a tad overpriced, at least for the web version.
Then again, the first thing that they BOTH asked, as soon as they were done with the game, was “can we get the second one?” At the end of the game, there’s this little tiny mention of the next title in the series… and it’s clearly a good enough game that they are ready for more.
Something that surprised me about Mayan Mysteries
I absolutely, totally, 100% suck at digging. I asked the kids about the digging, to see if they’d encountered any frustration like I did – nope, not at all. The tools worked just fine and dandy for them. So… if you’re like me, and you struggle with the digging tools – don’t worry, the kids almost certainly won’t. (No, I’m not fessing up how many items I broke because I was just too impatient… let’s just say the kids were amused at my grumbling, and leave it at that.)
A really cool mini Mayan encyclopedia
This was one of the really nifty things we discovered – there’s a built-in mini encyclopedia about the Mayan civilization inside the game. It covers numerous topics of history, culture, society, and the environment – and it’s all interlinked, so that the player can follow their curiosity and learn more. Not something I anticipated, but it’s much appreciated. While Mayan Mysteries would be a great compliment to a study of the Mayans, it does a fine job as a unit study all on its own.
Is Mayan Mysteries a good value?
Me, personally – I would balk at the price for the web version, knowing the length of the game – especially if there will be multiple installments that the kids would also want to play. It’s a little steep. The pricing on the iPad app is a bit more reasonable, at $9.99 – a bit high, in my opinion, but then, most games for the iPad are.
If the price for #2 is similar, that’s a decision that would require a lot more thought – $9.99, that’s almost impulse-purchase range. The $21.99 for the web version, though, is just not so justifiable on a our limited budget… of course, your mileage may vary.
What do you think?
Do you like the trend toward web-based and mobile gaming? Will this make edutainment that much more portable and accessible for every family?