|Publisher: Aspyr Media Genre: Edutainment|
|Min OS X: 10.4 CPU: G4 @ 1000 MHz RAM: 256 MB Hard Disk: 1500 MB DVD-ROM|
There haven't been many successful educational games in gaming history, and most, like Operation Neptune, were more game than education. However, futureU, a recently released SAT test prep game, has claimed that it is both a "painless new way to prep for the SAT" and "just a whole lot of fun." In order to find out if it lives up to its claims, you will have to look at....
GameplayIf you like entertaining gameplay, unique storylines, character creation, and achievements, then you probably won't enjoy futureU. The only game elements that appear to be actually in the program are an extremely simple achievement system and a character creator. Everything else is either a quiz, a "game" (a different variety of quiz), or a test skill builder. Taken as a game, futureU fails entirely.
When viewed as a test prep program, however, futureU is quite average. The various "games" inside do help with basic SAT skills, to a small extent, and the quizzes do help. However, it lacks timed practice tests, which have been proven to be the most successful technique for raising SAT scores. Overall, futureU isn't as good as most SAT prep software released in the past year or so.
GraphicsFutureU has pretty average graphics. All the backgrounds are pretty empty aside from stylized shapes that your character flies towards when you go from menu to menu. The character itself can be colored and changed in a variety of ways, but not enough to be truly interesting. After all, why do you care if your shirt is a different color when the character does nothing but do a non-skippable animation whenever you change menus?
SoundThe sound of futureU isn't that bad, surprisingly. The menu and "game" music is pretty good, the sounds match their purpose, and there wasn't a single area that lacked sound. This didn't matter, of course, as the "game" itself wasn't that entertaining and didn't match the other SAT prep software in the market.
ValueNow comes the final question. Is futureU worth your hard-earned money? Without a doubt, no. FutureU is an average test prep tool. Nothing more, nothing less. If you're looking for a fun new game to play, futureU is not for you. The only thing it has in common with games is that you can create an avatar and gather achievements. The "games" inside are mainly just skill builders and tests, and they're not particularly fun. There are numerous games and prep programs that are better than futureU, and most of them can be bought used for much less than $39.99.
Pros• Music is pretty good
Cons• Not a game
• Overly simplistic exercises
• No training lessons