Using a major iconic comic book super hero, Batman: Strength in Numbers delivers a more console like experience to the Leapster gaming system.
With a “Strength in Numbers” theme, numbers are the highlighted learning topic in this title. Marketed to K-1st Graders, the ideal age range for this title is suggested at 5-7. The player takes control of Batman and uses a familiar side-scrolling style of gameplay. This side-scrolling aspect gives the game the feeling you are playing a GBA title with its basic platforming and simple combat techniques.
The platforming in this game is actually the best I have seen yet in a Leapster title. More detailed and better structured than the Leapster version of Sonic, Batman will have the player jumping across gaps, jumping on ledges, and even using the Batgrapnel through a mediocre use of a double jump. The “B” button is actually the context sensitive attack button, meaning when an enemy is far away, Batman will attack by throwing his Baterang but if the enemy is close, a punch kick combo will be employed.
Batman gets through key parts of each level by answering some type of number question. For example, the game will ask that the player jump on the platform with the number “35” written on it or select the proper number by hitting a Switch. This helps the player learn how to recognize numbers, count, understand odds and evens, add and subtract, and understand sequence.
Levels are broken up according to the enemies of Batman: Firefly, the Cluemaster, and Mr. Freeze, with the Joker becoming an unlockable level after certain conditions are met. Unfortunately, each level plays pretty much exactly the same. The same run-to-the-right while fighting worthless robots becomes pretty repetitive by the end of the third level. And who has heard of the Cluemaster and Firefly? Shouldn’t more recognizable enemies, such as the Riddler or the Penguin be used? And like in other Leapster titles, the player has the option to collect extra items spread within each level, just like finding coins in a classic Mario Bros. game. However, the Batman collects chocolate bars! Why Batman would want to go out of his way to satisfy his sweet tooth strikes me as odd and a little bit confusing. Couldn’t he just collect bat symbols or something?
This Batman Leapster title could definitely be a worthy purchase for a young gamer. The amount of numbering questions in the game is on the lighter side so the player will actually feel like they are playing a platforming game rather then wading through a boring math tutor. The use of Batman is a great idea as it is an icon that children can immediately recognize. It is just too bad that the game does get a little repetitive towards the end. But maybe this could have been eliminated if the platforming aspect was upped a little bit by introducing a double jump, wall jump, or a “hanging from the ledge” gameplay maneuver. On the other hand, these gameplay elements could have brought too much confusion to what should be a simple and easy to use title.