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Recently I purchased "Math Baseball" for the Leapster platform, from LeapFrog. I found it at Target and of course being the type of parent that has to own nearly "every" LF product I picked it up.

My son just turned 3 so is a little too young for it, we are going to wait a few months I think to give it to him. The target age range is 1st through 3rd grade. I tried it out myself however and was quite impressed.

Starting the game you can choose such options as "practice", "play a quick game", or "start a season". Starting a season is interesting, you can choose the color of your uniforms, different players, and your team name and logo. None of these choices has any actual effect on gameplay, it is just for fun. All the players are the same as far as I can tell. It is your Math ability that determines their skill!

Practice mode allows you to practice hitting, pitching, and also there is a "T-ball" mode. The easiest thing to practice is the T-ball mode "counting practice", which my 3 yr old could do at this time. Basically you get as much time as you need to count the balls and then hit A or B to choose the right answer. If you choose right you wallop the ball, if you choose wrong you miss. There is also addition, subtraction, multiplication, division modes for T-Ball, and for hitting and pitching. You can select exactly what you want to practice, either timed (hitting and pitching) or un-timed (T-ball mode).

Playing an actual game consists of you choosing, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or "mixed" which mixes all types of math problems. This is how hitting works.

A math equation pops up at the top left, and as the pitcher throws the ball you choose one of 2 answers as quickly as possible. There is a green bar at bottom left measures your speed at selecting the right answer. The faster you answer the better your chances of getting a better hit. If you answer super fast correctly you might get a homerun. Also you can get triples, doubles, singles, etc.. If you answer too slowly or incorrectly you'll get a strike.

Pitching is more fun, as when your on "defense" you can pitch AND field the ball. Similar to hitting, the better and faster you are at answering the question the better pitch you throw. If you answer quickly and correctly the computer player is more likely to swing and miss. Just like in real baseball there is 3 strikes per inning. You can choose 1, 3 or 6 inning games when you start the game.

If the computer hits your pitch, you can still get him out as the ball pops up into the outfield and you now get an answer displayed and you must choose the correct math equation that produces that answer. So its basically backwards from hitting and pitching. The faster you are the better chance you have of catching the ball.

Every now and then I noticed some cool "eye candy" thrown in, like you'll throw a "fire ball" pitch, or if you get a good hit their is a picture of the sun in the sky smiling at you and looking down at the game. Kinda neat, I think there is more animations that can occur, but I have played it for a very short time.

The season mode keeps track of your record as you go for your saved team. I'm not sure if you can enter playoffs or something and win the world series. I read that the game gets harder as you progress, leading to tougher math problems.

Overall this game looks great, and is a fun way to learn math if I was a 1st-3rd grader. The sound is wonderful, and each player has personality, kind of like "Backyard Baseball" if you've played that kid's computer game. The better kids get at math the better their team does. What a great way to encourage and motivate kids to learn math. Well done LeapFrog!


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