Donkey Kong Jr. Math (NES)

Donkey Kong Jr. Math Box Art

Donkey Kong Jr. Math

System: NES

Release Date: October 1985

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Edutainment

Game number four is Donkey Kong Jr. Math. First things first, this game sells for a stupid amount for what it is. Carts only go upwards of $200. Complete in box can go for multiple hundreds of dollars. Collectors are insane… Anyone want to buy my collection? This is an anomaly to me, being an edutainment game based off of Donkey Kong Jr., which doesn’t make its debut on the NES until June of 1986.

Donkey Kong Jr. Math Title Screen.

There are three modes to this game. Calculate A, Calculate B, and +-X/ Exercise. Basically an easy mode, a hard mode, and equation practice mode. The easy and hard modes can be played competitively and I guarantee I’d beat any challenger who stepped up to the chains. It took me a minute to get the concept of the calculate levels, but I got there.

Defeating my opponent and hearing his lamentations.

In Calculate mode, you start with a number and you have to use the operations and a random set of numbers to equal the number on Donkey Kong’s placard. It’s a good idea to take a second and get a gameplan, because you can grab the wrong operation and put yourself far on the opposite end of where you want to go.

Uhhhhh… whoops…

I think the meat of the game lies in the Exercise mode. You’ve got 9 different styles of equations to choose from. Once you pick one, you enter a long equation format where you’ve got to put the right numbers in the right slots. I liked this mode, but had a couple nitpicks (the name of the bird who tells you when you’re wrong is named Nitpicker).

Choosing which format to practice.

You choose the number you want to input into the equation by climbing up a chain and then moving to a different one. This was easy enough to figure out, but if you accidentally go a pixel too high or low, the only way to clear your error is by pressing the B button and starting the equation all over. Allowing a single back space would have been much better. Also, you have to keep your carried numbers in your head. I think it would be better if you had to enter the one or four or whatever you had to carry from the previous calculation.

Problem solved. The problem is solved. We solved the problem. Problem solved.

The Donkey Kong characters merely give a setting and a skin for doing math. Suckers!

Graphics: 2.0

It’s Donkey Kong Jr., which I’ve never thought was particularly good. There is a lot of brown and blue and green.

Sound: 1.0

The music loop is incredibly short, plain, and is constant. The sound effects for jumping, running, and moving between chains is very Donkey Kong, but not particularly pleasing.

Gameplay: 2.0

The controls work like they’re supposed to. Like I said before, I think there could have been some more quality of life in the controls, but it is what it is.

Difficulty: 1.0

It’s math, so if you think math is hard, you may find it very difficult. I think there is a nice variety of equations to play out, but they’re also easy to master.

Fun Factor: 1.0

It’s not a fun game. I might want to prove that I’m better than the game and get 1000 points in each equation of the exercise mode, but I have better things to do.

Overall Grade: 1.4

Donkey Kong Jr. Math earns a D+. I mean, it’s a math learning game. I appreciate trying to put learning into games, but the game needs to be fun to play or else you’ll turn players away.

Donkey Kong Jr Math Video Review on YouTube

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