Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Video Games : Online Video Game
Mayan Mysteries

Mayan Mysteries

Spring 2013 Online Video Game
Ages: 11 - 15 yrs.
Price: $21.99
Gaming System: Online

If your child digs in the sandbox or under the sofa cushion in search of lost-civilization ruins, it's a good clue he or she would embrace Mayan Mysteries, a story-based online game focused on a fictional archeological adventure to Mayan territory in Mexico and Central America.

After a fine animated opening of a flock flying over Mayan ruins, the game quickly moves on to rather rudimentary graphics of ordinary comics-page quality, the kind you might find in an excavation of early '90s videogames. But don't let that stop you from digging further. This game holds hidden treasures.

Mayan Mysteries offers plenty of informative content for children interested past civilizations. It requires your young archeologist to read about Mayan civilization with text about everything from Mayan geography to the techniques of an archeological dig to the nature of artifacts to Mayan history. Players will have to be patient in order to access the cool parts of the game, which are only available after reading through the introductory scenes.

There's some real educational value and fun packed into the game. Some challenges, like the multiple choice questions testing reading comprehension, are a bit too much like schoolwork. Others, though, such as digging at archeological sites (including choosing the right tools for every discovery) and interacting with a map of Mayan lands, really are engaging and educational. There's also rewarding click-and-learn information about everything from archeological excavations to artifact robbers.

If your player can stick to the game and get past the lengthy cartoon reading content, then they'll enjoy a fascinating introduction to Mayan history alongside mini-game challenges. There's plenty of social science, focus-required challenges, and reasoning elements here, too. Overall, this is a solid way to learn a lot about the Mayan culture and archeology.

Don Oldenburg   ©2013 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Dig-It! Games, LLC

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