M&M's: The Lost Formulas Download (2000 Educational Game)

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M&M's: The Lost Formulas is an engaging game where players take on the role of Yellow, the peanut M&M. Your job is to track down the lost formulas that the M&M's Minis have stolen and hidden in the factory. Finding the hidden pieces of the formula requires breaking boxes of M&M and Mars products as well as exploring the seven factory levels.

Each of the eight levels, including one on the road to the factory, is split into three parts, with start, math, and end zones. Zones are filled with obstacles, and in the math zone solving problems incorrectly can cost a life. An extra life is awarded for every 100 Minis collected. Minis are found in boxes labeled with various M&M and Mars products and are earned by driving a car through the box or by "going berserk" on the boxes.

Although controls are fairly simple, they still take a bit of skill to master, since, at times, they have to be used with precision in order to avoid danger. This can cause younger players to possibly experience frustration when maneuvering in certain areas. Most of the math problems are simple, targeted at the first or second grade level, and both the type and difficulty level can be set before any individual game. Older children may have better skill at manipulating Yellow, but be less challenged by the problems.

The levels are well designed, and the four hidden levels, achieved when players find all three pieces of a hidden formula, can be very fun to play. The levels have wonderful visuals, from dripping, flowing milk chocolate and sprays of candy colors to a huge warehouse level and surfing through factory water pipes. Gameplay is captivating and provides the player with hours of enjoyment long after he or she has mastered the math problems.

Despite the drawbacks of the controls, which can be difficult for younger players to master, and the somewhat blocky and pixilated nature of the movie cut scenes, there are enough interesting visuals and fun gameplay to keep kids coming back time and again to play.

Graphics: Most of the graphics are very good. On some machines, however, the graphics for the movie appear blocky and pixilated. Even with an accelerated graphics card, the movies have a distracting series of bright and dark lines that can take away from the action onscreen.

Sound: Each level has a different soundtrack, but all are exciting and support the feeling of the on-screen action. Unique sounds accompany the Minis as they flee from the broken boxes, as does gaining a new life.

Enjoyment: Kids will really enjoy the game, despite the occasional control problems, due to the exciting levels and well-done graphics.

Replay Value: Even after players have mastered the math problems, there's plenty of engrossing gameplay. Each game is different, with the formula pieces hidden in different places each time.


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