Cyberchase Fractions Quest is an online game developed by FableVision in the Unity game engine, and released as of December 8, 2020. It teaches fractions through minigames featuring division, shapes, number lines and other representational elements. The plot involves an unnamed earthling controlled by the player reassembling a divided CyberSquad and uncovering Hacker's schemes.
"Phase I" of Fractions Quest was initially completed in 2016, with FableVision completing a prototype containing four levels of challenges. A study was also conducted involving 60 grade 4 students with results that reveled the prototype to be a engaging medium for education on fractions.
Later on in development, FableVision uploaded a video on their YouTube channel on October 31, 2016 displaying progress they had made since Phase I. The development team describes their design philosophy and reviews the results of the study they conducted in Phase I. The addition of an estimation training mechanism is also discussed, being designed for students who were struggling with a general conceptual understanding of fractions. This would later become known as the Estimatron-5000.
From May 1, 2017 to April 30, 2019, Fablevision would continue to develop the game until launching a limited time beta upon Summer 2020. This beta would later be promoted on Facebook on July 8, 2020.
The game opens with a panicked Digit sending a distress signal to the player’s Skwak Pad, explaining that the CyberSquad was captured and split up by Hacker while Motherboard was down. Digit overheard that Jackie was dropped on Ecotopia and prompts the player to investigate there first.
Sure enough, the player comes into contact with Jackie, who reveals that Hacker drilled into Ecotopia’s slime core and caused an ooze eruption. Jackie expresses concern about the animals inhabiting Ecotopia and presents some chameleons that had retreated from home due to the slime ooze overtaking their residence. Jackie instructs the player how to make parachutes out of leaves designed for the chameleons to fly back home. After helping the chameleons, the player feeds some primates whose food sources had been spoiled by the ooze. Jackie thanks the player for saving Ecotopia and informs them that she saw Hacker collecting slime in a container before he left, placing suspicion on the act. Suddenly, Matt impatiently contacts Jackie via Skwak Pad, stating that Hacker took him to Castleblanca and trapped him in Mayor Wolfman's castle during the mayor’s birthday party. The player and Jackie board the Coupe in pursuit of Castleblanca.
After blasting some interloping space junk on the way, the player and Jackie arrive in Castleblanca. In preparation for the challenges that await, Jackie introduces the player to the Estimatron-5000, which can help the player learn more about fractions before they get more precise. Within Wolfman’s Castle, the CybersSquad find themselves blocked by partygoing monsters and serve consumables to clear a path. After continuing to contribute to the party by packaging toys and participating in the mayor’s favorite game: Bobbing for Bugs, the Cybersquad finds an extra container of Fur Wax and gives it to Mayor Wolfman, who gratefully reveals Matt’s whereabouts. After a brief reunion, Inez contacts the CyberSquad with her Skwak Pad to request help, as she is stranded on Aquari-Yum. The Cybersquad promptly takes off on the Coupe to rescue Inez.
After navigating through asteroids, the CyberSquad reaches Aquari-Yum only to find the site trashed, Matt suspecting Hacker responsible for the damage. Inez sends another message using the Skwak Pad, explaining that Hacker placed her in Croissant Cave and generated a huge tidal wave upon his exit that threw the ecosystem into chaos and piled Aqari-Yum foliage in front of the cave opening. After some more training with the Estimatron-5000, the CyberSquad begins to clean Aquari-yum through fixing piles of ice cream, constructing a forklift to move blockades of asparagus and serving scattered taco fillings to fish. After successfully cleaning the Cybercite, the entrance to Croissant Cave is cleared and the CyberSquad frees Inez, who notes that she witnessed Hacker steal a jewel from the Crab Prince. The CyberSquad then receives a call from Digit, who mentions that the Grim Wreaker is heading for Radopolis, prompting the player to board the Coupe.
After avoiding flight traps set by Hacker, the CyberSquad arrives at Radopolis to find a skateboarding contest being held, expressing concern that the crowd will make finding Digit difficult. Digit sends a message to the Skawk Pad revealing that Hacker strapped him to a skateboard and has forced him to participate in the contest. After more training on the Estimatron-5000, the CyberSquad prepares for the contest by applying decals to skateboards, plotting optimal trick spots and distributing souvenirs to participants. After the contest, the CyberSquad finds Digit, who compliments Jackie and Inez's skating. Completely reunited, the CyberSquad boards the coupe and heads directly towards the Grim Wreaker to investigate Hacker and rescue Motherboard.
As the coup nears its destination, Digit reviews the artifacts Hacker stole from each Cybersite: Slime from Ecotopia, Fur Wax from Castleblanca, a Jewel from Aquari-Yum and Skateboard Wheels from Radopolis. Digit speculates that Hacker may be constructing something, as he overheard plans involving a “Fracto Disastro”. Sure enough, the CyberSquad comes to find Fracto Disastro, a giant robotic replica of Hacker, blocking a portal to Motherboard. Hacker controls Fracto Disastro remotely to fire a beam at the portal Motherboard is behind, encasing it in a field of energy with intents on destroying the only remaining access to Motherboard. However, the CyberSquad avoids various attacks from Fracto Disastro and counters the energy field with their own blasters, dispelling the energy field and destroying Fracto Disastro.
Defeated, Hacker pilots the Grim Wreaker back to the Northern Frontier as the CyberSquad proceeds into Control Central. Having saved Cyberspace, Digit and the rest of the Cybersquad thank the player for their efforts in reuniting them and putting a stop to Hacker’s consequential scheme.
The general gameplay loop involves the player completing tasks around a Cybercite to eventually reunite with a member of the Cybersquad. Tasks are completed in a minigame fashion, each having their own rules and objectives relating to fractions. During specific intervals of a minigame, the player will obtain a Star, which often starts a new section of that minigame, usually with an added mechanic being incorporated. Once the player obtains three stars they will complete a minigame and receive a piece of Hacker’s Blueprint, which unlocks the final minigame when completed. For the third Cybersite, Aquari-Yum, and beyond, the player may play minigames in any order but still must complete all of them to progress.
Between Cybercites, the player will pilot the Coupe, which has its own type of minigames. These serve as something of a test that incorporate concepts introduced in previous minigames to nullify hazards capable of damaging the Coupe. If the Coupe takes too much damage from failed fraction problems then the minigame must be restarted.
For Castleblanca and following Cybersites, the player will train using the Estimatron-5000 before having access to the other minigames in that Cybercite. These minigames involve selecting fractions of a given whole that do not conform to a metric grid. If the player’s estimations are a certain parameter near the exact answer, they will be declared reasonable and the player will be allowed to progress.
- An unspecified Earthlie (Player)
- Slider (cameo)
- Fracto Disastro
- Cut leaves into equal pieces and share them fairly between the given amount of chameleons to create parachutes for them. Leaf shape and chameleon amount vary between rounds.
- Distribute a given amount of fruit equally between a given amount of primates. The ratio between fruit and primates varies every round.
- Pilot the coupe, which runs on numbers according to Jackie. First part involves cutting space junk into small, equally sized pieces with the blasters, similar to the Chameleon minigame. Second part involves vacuuming space junk pieces by dragging them into vacuum tube compartments so that each compartment has the same amount of pieces.
- Drag across shapes to cut them into pieces and choose which portion of the cut shape represents a given fraction. Cuts are not drawn fixed to a grid but rather judged by the Estimatron-5000 if they are placed in a reasonable enough position to represent the given fraction.
- Spread Scream Cheese, Boo Cheese, and other toppings onto a given fraction of a cracker. Another part of the minigame involves filling in empty numerators and denominators to represent the areas of already topped foods.
- Pack boxes with given fractions of each toy type: Mummy Marbles, Hair Balls, Demon Rings and Googly Eyes. Later on, the player must label pre-packaged boxes by filling in blank numerators and denominators to represent what fraction of space each toy type takes up.
- Drag a spotlight across a number line to the given fraction in order to highlight a bug in the bug pool. Another part involves the spotlight already positioned, with the player having to input the correct number in a blank numerator or denominator to determine the bug’s location.
- Pilot the Coupe again. Cut shapes to represent a given fraction or name a given fraction based on a graphical representation. A later part involves filling fractions of tubes with different colored asteroid pieces. The final section involves dragging a number line to a given fraction in order to steer the Coupe or label a given point on the number line.
- More training with the Estimatron-5000. The gameplay is similar to the last training but also includes making estimations on number lines.
- Clean up piles of ice cream the tidal wave knocked over by applying toppings such as fudge sauce or sprinkles to a given fraction of ice cream. A later part involves decorating two ice creams with different denominators to be equivalent to the value of a given fraction.
- Assemble a forklift by dragging a screwdriver-like machine to a given fraction on a number line to insert a screw. Later sections will omit measurement markings or require filling in a given point on the number line with an appropriate fraction.
- Clean up scattered taco fillings by dragging a given amount of each topping to fill spaces on a taco according to a fish's order.
- Pilot the Coupe once again. This involves tasks similar to previous Coupe minigames along with finding equivalents of given fractions on number lines and shapes to avoid and destroy flight traps set up by Hacker.
- Paint in space on gear patches to be less or greater than a given fraction. A later part involves painting the patch a fraction that is both greater than one patch and less than another.
- Mark optimal trick spots in a skate park by filling empty numerators and denominators to make an inequality true while keeping it within the bounds of a number line. Zero or a one cannot be marked on the number line. A later section involves marking a spot between two given fractions.
- Pack souvenirs such as skateboards, helmets and hats to take up more or less than a given fraction of a box without filling the box completely. A later section involves filling boxes to a value between two fractions.
- Pilot the Coup to defeat Fracto Disastro and save Motherboard. A comprehensive review of all previous Coup minigames with some new inequality based trials included.
Summer 2020 beta
- "Cyberchase Fractions Quest" Now Available for Purchase!. Monica Chen. FableVision Studios. December 8, 2020.