Donkey Kong Jr. Math (NES) review"There's really no challenge other than repetition and who is better at math with high digits. The only way to die is to fall into a pit, something so difficult to accomplish that you must do it on purpose. And the penalty? You start over while your opponent keeps working toward his goal." 
Educational games have always been a bit of a mystery. How do you mingle funthat which makes children want to play gameswith learning? Well, Nintendo's answer to this question apparently was Donkey Kong Jr. Math, a simplistic marriage of rather complicated math with the everpopular (at least at the time) prince of the jungle, Donkey Kong, Jr.
Nintendo chose to present this game through two game modes, both of which bear strong resemblence to the stages in Donkey Kong Jr., sans Mario. There is clearly a main mode, then another less polished mode that was apparently thrown in because the developers discovered they could. The first mode is quite good, the second a bummer.
In the first mode, you are competing against another monkey to solve mathematical equations. Or rather, you are using equations of your own devising to reach a certain number. The number is displayed at the top center of the screen, your current number is on the left, and the opponent's is on the right. So far as I can tell, the only way your opponent will ever do squat is if you have a second player competing with you. This is actually quite cool should you possess a friend willing to play this relic, but rather a bummer if you happen not to have such a stroke of luck. Playing by myself, I realized the game soon grows dull, despite its potential. Basically, there are around 18 numbers to choose from, and the four basic math signs that stand for addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division. You use the numbers, then the sign that's appropriate.
The only problem is that multiplication and division alter the number by too much, addition and subtraction by too little. If you're not good with numbers in your head, this game will frustrate you immensely for a fair amount of time. Say you have 776 and the game starts you with 150. Since the numbers you can use are all single digits from 1 to 9, you have to decide where to go from there. Multiply 150 by 5 and you're up to 750, but that leaves you making up the 26 points by going through the tedious process of adding digits on one at a time, 9 here, 5 there. By yourself, this is an absolute bore. With a friend possessing mathematical skills similar to your own, it's much better.
Staff review by Jason Venter (August 15, 2002)
Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words. 
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