|Alien Nine: Gadget Race Tour|
|Publisher||Bandai Namco Games|
|Platform|| Bandai Extreme|
|Ratings||EC for Early Childhood|
Alien Nine: Gadget Race Tour is an educational science computer game based on the characters from Alien Nine developed by Azumanga Interactive and published by Bandai Namco Games for the Bandai Extreme and Bandai CD. It is intended to teach children between the ages of 7 and 12 introductory mechanics, namely simple machines, magnets, basic electronics, and forms of energy.
The game is similar to the educational PC game Super Solvers: Gizmos & Gadgets.
The object of the game is to win 15 races in different vehicles against Megumi Hisakawa's alien creations at the outdoor gym. This is done by moving Yuri Otani, Kumi Kawamura or Kasumi Tōmine (depending on what warehouse you're playing) around a series of warehouses to collect vehicle parts by solving puzzles involving principles of physics.
There are 15 races; five races in each of three categories, automotive, alternative energy, and aircraft. The races get progressively harder and the vehicles more complex as the player nears the fifth race in each category.
The user moves the 3 main characters Yuri Otani (in the Aircraft Warehouse), Kumi Kawamura (in the Automotive Warehouse) or Kasumi Tōmine (in the Alternative Energy Warehouse) around warehouses collecting parts that are used to build the vehicles. But watch out for the robots, they hang around the warehouse and if the player runs into them they steal one of the parts. The only way to stop them is to throw screw drivers at them, causing them to sleep and relinquish any part(s) they have taken.
The warehouse where the parts are kept is a maze-like building through which the player must navigate. There are multiple levels and the only ways to travel between them are to be blown by vents, jump off springboards, or jump off trampolines (to move up) or to walk off a ledge (to move down.) There is also a "front" (where the player can see the whole warehouse and few boxes are generally visible) and a "back" (which is a small portion of the front where the majority of boxes are.) They are separated by doors. Doors begin locked and can only be unlocked by solving a science-related puzzle. Once unlocked the player can move back and forth freely through that door. However, because the only way to reach the majority of the warehouse is through the "front" but since most boxes are on the "back" the player must unlock many, if not most of the doors.
In solving the puzzles, players learn about science and mathematical principles, including:
- Balance – balancing a scale using different weights and distances
- Electricity – constructing various types of series and parallel circuits
- Energy – matching activities to energy types: chemical, electrical, kinetic, nuclear, potential, light, heat, mechanical
- Force – propelling various sized objects into a flashing hole (depending on ramp, gravity and/or friction)
- Gears – constructing machines using gears of various sizes
- Magnetics – constructing various North-South pole patterns
- Machines – building common objects out of simple machine pieces
In building vehicles, players learn about good, better and best principles. For example, that a rounded nose on a car is more aerodynamic and faster than a flat nose, and a pointed nose is better still.