Sunday, May 19, 2013

My First App Review: Dragonbox

I just got my very first smartphone. First app I bought was DragonBox. I've heard lots of good things about it, and I think I played around with a free online version a while back (although it doesn't seem to exist now).

It is fun to play with, even though I know my algebra. I still need to test it with kids who haven't learned algebra yet, to see how much sense it makes to them, and how well it transfers to paper-and-pen(cil) algebra.

I did find a few bugs, and I hope the makers will set up some sort of program to get users to report bugs, so they can fix them.

Bug #1 (minor):

Here's the screen. I wanted to subtract a/5 from both sides, but that's not possible. I had to multiply both sides by 5, subtract a, and then divide both sides by 5.

Bug #2 (minor):
I was penalized for changing c+c to 2c. Not sure why.

Bug #3 (bigger):

I divided both sides by x, and got x = 1/3. Dreambox said that was right. But that leaves out the other possible answer, which is x = 0. Yikes! I think dividing by x needs to be a wrong step in the game.

I bought the version for age 5 and up ($5.99) by mistake. I'm looking forward to checking out the version for age 12 and up ($9.99), too.

Even with bugs, this game is great. I'm impressed.


  1. Sue,

    DragonBox developer here. Thanks for your review. Here are some answers to your questions:

    * the first issue isn't an issue. Not all rules are available from start. That said, this turns the level into a puzzle. Even if you know Maths, you have to think a bit. Note the missing rule exists in the 12+ version.

    * not sure about the second one (which chapter/level did it happen?)

    * the third one, yes DragonBox doesn't yet support solving quadratic equations and some levels could have been designed better.

  2. Wow! I was going to try to figure out how to email you, but you found me first. I'm impressed. Thanks for responding!

    I was thinking about that first one, and I agree with you. It was intriguing to figure out an alternate way to resolve it.

    As I mentioned, I'm new to my smartphone. I couldn't get screenshots while I was playing yesterday, so I'm not sure where the second one happened. Maybe toward the end of chapter one? (If that is clearly wrong, then I just don't know. I remember that the c+c was on the left side. I was experimenting when I pulled the one on top of the other, and I thought it was so cool that it changed to 2c. So when I got too many steps, I figured it was earlier in the problem. I did it again. It might have been my 4th try before I left it alone. Mathematically, that one's not a real problem, but it would be more consistent for the game to allow (require?) the 2c.

    So on the third one, shouldn't you pull that one out? You can send updates out to people's devices, right?

    I don't know much about all this, so I hope I'm understanding it correctly.

  3. Sue,

    regarding the quadratic level definition:

    * this level in the game allows for people to engage in discussion. We have a similar scenario in DragonBox 12+ where people can end up with 4 = 5 in one level.

    * see also and

    We can send updates, but I am not sure we will update that one.

    Feel free to contact us at support at

    If you ever try dragonbox 12+, let us know what you think!


  4. Thanks for this feedback Sue. I haven't really tried this app but have read several times about it.


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