Client: National Numeracy

National Numeracy were looking for a team to build them an engaging and educational game that teaches maths through play. Lots of people ‘snack’ on infinite runners on their commute or in downtime – how can we take some of that game time and make it more ‘nutritional’?

The first task was to create an infinite runner game that any player would be proud to have on their phone. Taking notes from the biggest names in the genre, Temple Run and Subway Surfer, we built a runner where the player has to jump, duck and dodge their way along a track.

Maths skills are essential for all manner of daily tasks, so fitting maths puzzles into a real world narrative presents maths in a natural way, without making it seem as if ‘boring maths questions’ are interrupting a fun mobile game. At the start of the narrative, the player is tasked with helping the characters with various puzzles – all of which involve maths!

Star Dash Studios is set on a fictional film set and sees the player running from department to department, solving challenges and rising through the ranks! There are lots of cheeky filmic references throughout the app – look for for Han Solo frozen in carbonite, the East Dock sign from Jurassic Park, the Wilhelm scream, and more! The player can also pick up several film props that change the look of the game in some way. Pick up the cowboy hat and see the game in super wide screen, the old film camera turns the game into a classic film noir, or use the film canister to make the track fold over itself in ‘Inception’ mode!

It was important for National Numeracy that the player wasn’t under any time pressure or given any reason to panic when experiencing the maths puzzles, so we made them seem really colourful and fun to interact with. The player has plenty of time to work out their answer and is rewarded with an amusing animation on success! If the puzzle is answered incorrectly however, the player sees everything going haywire and is offered a chance to try again, with a demonstration of the correct solution. The game is fun to fail, and there’s no huge loss if the puzzle goes unsolved. Getting the answer correct, however, advances the gameplay and gives big coin rewards!

At Plug-in, we’re used to making games for younger audiences, so getting the controls, speed, and difficulty in a good state of balance for the 16-25 audience was a challenge! The game is easy and intuitive to pick up, yet the increasing speed and difficulty gives the advanced player a run for their money! The game is compelling and challenging and we’re really pleased with how it handles.

We’re really proud of this app – we think it looks great and plays brilliantly, whilst fulfilling the objectives of teaching numeracy concepts! It’s free to download on the AppleGoogle and Amazon app stores so there’s no reason not to give it a go yourself!


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