A Review of Prodigy: Bad. Dangerously bad.
Since “MobyMax” became an enormous hit and a beloved modern teaching device by giving players an inspired look at skills they missed throughout the years, people have been striving to repeat that seemingly simple formula with a number of games that have offered this. Now comes “Prodigy,” a game that dares to ask “What if we combined MobyMax with simple graphics and a mostly game-driven area?,” a notion that I do not think that anyone has ever pondered for any amount of time outside of those stuck in a focus group. That is only the first of many problems with this game, a work so completely devoid of wit, style, intelligence or basic entertainment value that it makes the Angry Birds app seem like a pure artistic statement by comparison.
The extremely dubious conceit of "Prodigy" is that hidden within the coding is basic consumerism marketed to kids. Our plot is that apparently an evil wizard is trying to take over the world and with a couple of calculators near by, you can save it! That’s it.
So what wonders lie just beneath our touch screens, anyway? Based on the evidence put forth by “Prodigy,” it is a combination of corporate synergy. I found myself speculating on how many kids got lured by the basic paywalls in this game. 1 million?
The failure of imagination in “Prodigy” is not limited to its depiction of the app world. This is a game that has literally nothing to offer viewers—there are no moments of humor, excitement or insight regarding a culture that considers math to be all important and mighty. The characters go through their lines with such a lack of enthusiasm that they make Krusty the Klown seem focused and committed by comparison.
“Prodigy” is a demonstration of artistic abdication at its most venal, but will the kids like it? To that question, I offer this observation. This past weekend, I played the game with my 11-year old son. To be fair, it is a bit cheating, as he’s aware of the basic consumerism, but it’s all you got. He said that the game “deleted his items” and “locked it behind a paywall”. Even Electronic Arts doesn’t dare step into deletion territory, and when they do, they would never make you pay for it.