From Alabama to Wyoming, Geography Drive Arcade tests the player’s knowledge of the American states with four, patriotically colored mini-games. These include the “State Shape Challenge” (identify the state by its shape), the “Flagstaff State Flag Game” (match a state and its flag), the “State Capital Challenge” (match each state to its capital), and the “Honolulu Spelling Bee” (learn how to spell each state’s name). Players can earn a trophy for each game, depending on how many answers they get correct out of a possible 50. Leveling up from bronze to silver to gold, the goal is to get 50/50 correct for each game and to earn all four gold trophies.
Let’s not sugarcoat it: these mini-games are drills. When matching the state name to its shape, all 50 state names are listed on the side of the screen. Players must select from the list when the outline of a state pops up. During a round of the game (a round going through all 50 states), there is no repetition of a question regardless if the player gets it right or wrong. Players must repeat all 50 states in the mini-game to get better. Likewise, players must select a state’s capital from a list of 50 when trying to match the capital to the state on screen. In the state flags game, five flags are shown flying on poles at a time. In this game, a round only lasts as long as it takes for a player to get five incorrect answers; then, you have to start again. In the “Spelling Bee”, players see the outline of the state and hear the app say the name of the state, which they can repeat as often as necessary.
A great feature of the app is its helpful study map. The map labels each of the fifty states and its capitals; it also divides the states into 7 geographic regions. In addition, if you click on any of the states, there is a study card full of state facts and historical information. A player definitely wants to study those study cards – they contain the capital and flag information needed to win those trophies!
Geography Drive Arcade is available for both phones and tablets, through the major app stores – iTunes ($2.99), Google Play ($2.99), and Kindle ($1.99). Yes, the app costs money. However, it is less costly than a pack of flashcards, and paying up front prevents surprise in-app purchases and inundation with ads. The only advertisement in the app is a small icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the main screen. The icon changes its image every few seconds, advertising for the developer’s other apps.
The developer of Geography Drive Arcade, Spinlight Studio, specializes in apps for preschool and elementary school children, often with an educational goal. Geography Drive Arcade is intended for older elementary students who want (or need) to learn about the fifty states. The content is not inappropriate for younger children, but the app requires its player to read questions and spell out answers.
This app has been very well reviewed. Through Spinlight’s website, you can see that Geography Drive Arcade is an “Appy Editor’s Favorite App”, a “Parents’ Choice Recommended App”, and is “KidSafe Certified”. Common Sense Media gave the app a 4/5 star review, saying “Kids who have already learned just enough about the 50 states and geography to know answers to some of the questions will enjoy using their knowledge and learning more”. So, is this the year your elementary student learns about the 50 states? Would you like an app that could help them spell the names of those states and match their capitals? Geography Drive Arcade from Spinlight Studio is a flashcard substitute full of colorful quizzes and no ads, for a small price.