December 1, 2015 (Vol. 35, No. 21)
Strong Points: Fun game, includes educational content
Weak Points: None
Free (in-app purchases)
The sugar shake app hits that sweet spot between mobile device game and educational tool. The premise of the game portion of the app is that users must literally tilt their device to navigate sugar molecules toward an enzyme in order to have them react, and then guide the products through a simple maze and into a flask to score points. As a game, it’s entertaining and surprisingly challenging to navigate those molecules under such strict time requirements. The app is also an educational tool, though, as the sugar molecules and enzyme “characters” in the game are actually based on the reactions of glycolysis. Each level of the game is based on one reaction, and levels are actually named after the enzymes. Upon selecting a level, users are taken to a page that lists the reaction catalyzed by that enzyme, with the option to display even additional background information before delving into the level itself.