Star Wars Pit Droids – surprisingly educational puzzler

These pit droids are pretty mindless.  They can only follow instructions via tiles printed on the ground.  It’s your job to steer them in the right direction.

Yup – it’s another algorithmic thinking puzzle in the guise of a game!  I had come to think that Star Wars games were always centered around action battles, but this game is a refreshing step away from that genre.

I think it’s actually a lot more accessible for kids than the previously mentioned Cargo Bot, while at the same time, introducing kids to thinking logically and building up the foundation for algorithmic thinking.  Cargo Bot is more about thinking recursively about solutions, while this one is more iterative.  Path planning.  It’s a maze, without a maze, in some ways.  With the colored tiles you implement conditional rules and with the limited availability of certain types of tiles on each level, you’re working within some constraints that require further thinking.  There are transforms too at later stages and other requirements/obstacles introduced too.

The animations are cute and the tie-in with Star Wars is bound to capture the interest of a few more kids than if it was an abstract, unbranded logic game.  There is pretty instant feedback so the kids are able to run their “programs” (sets of tiles on the floor) and debug them pretty easily.

It’s a great compliment to Cargo Bot.  And probably the one I lean towards as a better introduction to formalizing thoughts and instructions.
Star Wars Pit Droids - LucasArts

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