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MindSnacks has a reputation for quality foreign-language educational apps, but its latest release focuses squarely on the United States — or more specifically, on learning just about everything there is to know about all 50 states. U.S. Geography includes eight games tailored for beginner or intermediate students, but it’s also perfect for immigrants, visitors, and citizens who want to brush up on their coast-to-coast knowledge.
All told, MindSnacks delivers over 40 hours of interactive content, more than 600 hand-drawn graphics, and 1,000-plus trivia questions to keep players on their toes. Initially, only four of the eight games are available; users unlock others by successfully navigating a virtual road trip across the country. The first level, featuring a frog named Belly, comes ready to play, but others require an initial one-time download.
While the focus may be on geography, the app ventures far deeper than borders, shapes, and landmarks, with detailed information on the history and culture of each state, including flags, mottos, capitals, and major cities. A slide-out panel provides one-tap access to multiple users and profiles, displaying "quests" (MindSnacks’ version of in-game achievements) and a handy pinch-friendly reference atlas. Incorrectly answered questions disappear from the screen, but eventually return so players get another crack at them.
Unlike the company’s other apps, which are free to download but require in-app purchases to get any real use out of, U.S. Geography is all yours for a reasonable $2.99. MindSnacks hasn’t lost its penchant for friendly, colorful graphics, and the app is universal, so it works equally well on all of the iOS device(s) you own. While U.S. Geography is engaging and fun, be prepared to spend a fair amount of time in the Review section studying each state prior to playing. The first level, which identifies state shapes or flags, doesn’t offer much hand-holding, but the gameplay gets a little more user-friendly as each level unfolds.
The bottom line. U.S. Geography by MindSnacks is a graphically rich app with a veritable treasure trove of educational and fun facts about all 50 states.
iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 6.0 or later
Unique hand-drawn graphics. Extensive knowledge of each state. Covers far more than simple geography.
Most games require study prior to playing. Games past first level require one-time download. Four games must be unlocked before playing.