By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer
Learning the names, facts, and faces of America’s 44 presidents can be incredibly difficult. So, when I discovered the Presidents vs. Aliens app, I was looking forward to mastering presidential history with all the fun of battling alien invaders. Unfortunately, the really simplistic visuals, surprisingly boring gameplay, and textbook-like flash cards make this app much less edu-taining than expected.
When you first start off, the game gives you a president’s name, biographical facts about them, or famous quotes, and then asks you to click on the correct face of the president that matches. Basically, you’re left randomly guessing and hoping to get the right answer, and learn through trial and error. Even when you guess wrong, the game eventually just gives you the answer. While this does mean you’ll eventually absorb all the facts and faces, it’s really not well-organized or particularly effective.
Once you’ve completed the face matching, you get to slingshot an image of the president’s head at alien invaders. However, these aliens are basically just motionless heads, they don’t require much aiming skill to hit, and they’re unimaginatively plastered against a low-def background photo of an American historical monument or building. If you’ve ever played the classic 1970s Space Invaders on your computer or smartphone, that old fossil of an arcade game is 10 times more fun than this lame slingshot stuff. Presidents vs. Aliens ends up feeling like someone just stapled a homemade game to your history textbook.
Anyhow, as you complete levels in the app, you’ll unlock more presidents, which gives you some sense of progression. Once you’ve got them all, a mini game asks you to put them in chronological order, while another bonus round has you clicking on their heads as they fly around in space. By the time you complete the entire app, though, you’ll realize that you probably learned the most from just studying the flash cards. So, our final verdict? We give this free app a “C-”.
Images courtesy of Freecloud Design.