LGR – Number Munchers, Word Munchers, Super Munchers – DOS PC Game Review

LGR – Number Munchers, Word Munchers, Super Munchers – DOS PC Game Review


[typing]
[LGR VO]
Hey, you!
You like math?
– Not particularly.
– [VO] You like arcade games?
– Sometimes.
– [VO] Like, math arcade games?
– I don’t know!
– [VO] Sure you do! Number Munchers, fool!
Yeah, dude man bro, munch on math.
Well, seeing as it’s called Number Munchers,
that makes complete sense!
I mean, what else would I munch on?
[chuckles] I’m not making that joke. That’s too easy.
The game was developed and
released by MECC in 1990.
And inside the box, you got the game
on a floppy disk,
either 5¼-inch or 3½-inch, like this one here.
You also get none other than
the Number Munchers manual,
which is packed to the brim
with all sorts of useless information.
Want a quick startup procedure for
people who hate to read manuals?
Just read this manual. There you go.
Flawless logic.
It also lets you know about the extra material
that could be purchased for classroom usage,
as well as the fact that the game isn’t copy protected.
So, please, don’t copy that Word Munchers floppy.
Uh…
Yeah, no worries.
I wouldn’t dream of copying Word Munchers
when I own Number Munchers!
The game beings with a title screen,
letting you know that the game…
begins with a title screen. Hmm.
You’re then dropped into the
main menu, which is pretty bland,
in this MS-DOS version at least.
I am much more fond of the Apple II version,
since it has things for eyes to look at.
And since that’s what eyes are for,
I find it to be shockingly appropriate.
But for all intents and purposes,
the games are the same beyond the menu aesthetics.
Before you start, you’ll definitely
want to hop on over to the options,
so you can optimize the optional
optionality contained within.
Not only can you choose the difficulty
level by grade and skill within said grade,
but the individual game content that you’ll come across
while nomming the numerous numbers.
Start a game, and you’re greeted
with a short introduction of our hero,
the Number Muncher, or Munchicus digitus,
a cutesy little monster thing with a big mouth
that you’ll take control of momentarily.
You’re also introduced to the Troggles,
five not-so-cute monsters that are
hellbent on screwing up your munching session
in any way they can.
Finally, you have the choice of
five types of math games to play,
Multiples, Factors, Primes, Equality and Inequality,
followed by a challenge mode
that mixes these up at random.
Once you’re in the grid,
you take the reigns of the Muncher,
who is controlled either by the arrow keys or the mouse,
though I personally prefer the former.
At the top of the screen, you’re given a
specific rule to follow for the current grid.
In this case, things that equal 38.
All you have to do is move the Muncher around to
the tiles that match the top of the screen’s wishes,
press Space and gobble it up.
Once you’ve eaten every appropriate
tile, you’ll move onto the next,
and that’s honestly about it for Number Munchers.
It’s really that simple.
Troggles will soon make their
way onto the screen, though,
and if they touch you, they will take one life.
Not only that, but tiles they walk over will often
change to something else after they’ve passed,
either providing another answer for you to eat
or a garbage answer that just distracts you.
Lose all your lives, either by receiving
too many bad Troggle touches
or eating enough wrong answers, and it’s game over.
And you do get the occasional
reprieve from these grid spots
with white highlighted corners.
They randomly change as time goes on,
but if you enter one, you’re invulnerable
to any Troggle attacks while it lasts,
so that’s decidedly not mean.
Thanks, designers!
And every three levels, you get
a fun little cartoon animation,
which, like the faux-Latin monster names,
is very Looney Tunes-esque,
especially bringing to mind the
Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons.
[beeping taunt]
But really, that’s it for Number
Munchers, and you know what?
I am not entirely enthused with this game.
Sure, it works just fine. It’s got some
entertaining bits that I enjoyed as a kid,
and it’s better than just solving
math problems on their own,
but there really just isn’t much to it.
In fact, the follow up game,
Word Munchers, is just more of the same.
Instead of math problems,
you have word problems,
which are just as problematic,
where you’ll have to choose the words
that match the indicated vowel sounds.
It’s exactly the same gameplay
with nothing new on offer.
Except for the new things,
like animated cut-scenes,
which, frankly, I find far less endearing
than those in Number Munchers
and even downright confusing.
[exasperated sigh] W-w-what was that?
He caught a Troggle with a shark fin?
Well, good for you. I don’t understand the humor.
However, then you’ve got
Super Munchers: The Challenge Continues,
released in 1991.
And this… THIS is what I’m talking about.
You’ve got six categories of trivia
to choose from in three difficulties,
and of course, good old Challenge Mode.
The gameplay is mostly the same,
but this time you’re really getting
challenged from all sides,
seeing as it’s not just restricted to
vowel sounds or fractions or whatever.
Not that those don’t have their place, of course,
but with this monster-dodging arcade game,
I just find more enjoyment in trivia
than I do in solving logic problems.
Not only that, but you have a
new game mechanic, the Munchmeter,
along the bottom of the screen.
Fill it up by eating enough stuff
and a little blue transmogrification thing will appear.
And once you enter it,
you become the Super Muncher!
Little green guy dons a little white cape
and can fly around, giving the
Troggles a taste of their own medicine.
At least until the Munchmeter runs out.
It’s just fun on the earlier levels,
but before long, it becomes an absolute lifesaver
when you’re being violated by
Troggles from every which way.
And this time, instead of a
non-interactive cartoon every few levels,
you get sent on a mission,
with the goal of getting closer and
closer to some mad scientist’s castle.
I don’t know why. You just do it.
Like one mission, you have to
pick which Troggle is disguised.
Another, you have to watch where a key is placed.
Then one where you have to memorize
where certain words are hidden on a screen.
And the last one, where you must scale
a cliff by flying upward, collecting numbers
and avoiding falling rocks and anvils,
which is kinda clunky, and I kinda don’t like it.
Once you complete all these,
you’ll reach the mad scientist’s lab,
and for some reason, he turns his
Frankenstein monster into a chicken.
And that’s it.
Start over from the beginning of the game
and continue playing for a high score.
And that’s the original Number Munchers series.
I’ve liked all of these since I was a kid,
even though it’s Super Munchers
that really keeps me coming back.
Number and Word Munchers just
get a bit monotonous before long.
And even though they were fun back in the day,
they don’t hold my attention past
that initial “ooh, nostalgia” feeling.
But I’d actually still recommend Super Munchers,
not only because it’s got more varied gameplay,
but the various trivia is just
more interesting, if you ask me.
Although some of it is a little outdated,
but that’s just the nature of trivia.
So if you can put yourself in a 1991
mental state, you’ll do just fine.
Just be sure to come out of it
when you’re done with the game
because flannel is not the easiest to find anymore.
So if you’re in the mood for some arcade action,
but for some reason feel a bit guilty about it
and desire a thin coat of
educational paint on your game,
you’ll be hard-pressed to find something more
fitting for this desire than the Munchers games.

100 thoughts on “LGR – Number Munchers, Word Munchers, Super Munchers – DOS PC Game Review”

  1. I remember this game as a kid. Played it in school, like most games like this.

    There's another math game I can think of too, but can't remember it off the bat.

  2. What is the song at the very end? I swear it sounds like a track from Dark Sun: Shattered Lands. Which is a great game!

  3. Hey bro i know this isnt the best place to ask but on the GAmeFanShop can the codes be used on steam if i were to buy sims 3 expansions?

  4. I played a few old edutainment games back in elementary school, I believe most if not all are for Windows 95, do you have any games that are for that OS?

  5. I loved this when in elementry school played a rehash online abd thought they must have lsd in the vents if that was entertainment

  6. Gosh, I remember playing…I mean studying this game on the Apple II when I was growing up. I made a copy of Word Munchers, please don't call the cops on me…lol

  7. I played number munchers as a kid. I always died until I got to the fractions level because fractions was the easiest level lol. I was terrible at math.

  8. Oh my goodness, i played this in elementary school on my schools apple II computers back in the early 2000's. I've totally forgot about this, but now i need to go and find a copy of this lol. I loved this game. Wish i could find the the other games that were on my schools Apple II's. I love this channel.

  9. i remember playing remakes of these in elementary school on computers running Mac OS 7 and 8. some on the Apple II's they still had too. these games definitely helped me learn as a kid.

  10. Im suprised you didnt mention the fact that the Troggles where freakn cannibals and would eat each other if they land on the same square. That kinda blew my mind as a kid. BTW ever play Odell Lake by MECC? You are a fish and you eat smaller fish and avoid bigger ones till you grow bigger. And you gotta dodge Otters and fish hooks. It was awesome.

  11. Oh man, I remembered playing Word/Number Munchers when I was in Elementary School, and it was a thing since I was in Kindergarten. I also remembered the Mac versions of these two. Also, I didn't even know there was Super Munchers. Now THAT'S a Muncher game I wanted to play. Word and Number got me stressed.

  12. "I'm not making that joke. That's too easy!" [shows slightly extended shot of carpet]

    Oh man… that was subtle as hell!  I don't know how I missed that before.

  13. I am reminded of a mac game. Trouble Troggle I think. The Muncher gets kidnapped in that game and you play as a dog solving puzzles and math problems…Hey LGR do you have that one?

  14. I FORGOT THIS PART OF MY LIFE EVEN EXISTED.

    Is this unique new feeling I get when I see the characters called the feelz?

  15. I never played the ones you listed in this video, but I remember always watching my sisters playing the munchers deluxe games (math, word, knowledge), too young to understand any of it myself. I surprisingly actually still have the games (along side numerous other old programs) in a huge cd binder we've had for years. Ah, the memories

  16. Holy shit, this brings me back to my computer class when I first stared school 😀 Thank you so much for this nostalgia trip, LGR.

  17. Super Munchers was the best game to play in the school computer lab when I was in elementary school. In fact, it's still incredibly popular at my local elementary school.

  18. What was that one where you were, like, a dog out to rescue the actual Number Muncher or something… or am I just making shit up?

  19. Hey have you by any chance heard of, reviewed, or plan to review the muncher spinoff "troggle trouble"? (I apologize as I am new to LGR)

  20. I totally remember this game lol, I hate math and always have…. but this game made it fun for me when I was a kid lol

  21. Back in fifth grade, Word Munchers was the game I put on our school computers in the library. Kids actually asked me if I programmed it.

    I put a Genesis emulator with Sonic the hedgehog on the class computer the next year. It ran at about half speed, as a Pentium was recommended.

  22. If I remember right one of the games that led me to believe as a kid that Commander Keen was the one and only non educational game on dos.

  23. Muncher! I remember the fond days of sitting in my school's Apple II lab and playing both Picture Munchers and Number Munchers. My classroom had the Mac version, as we had B/W Macs in our classrooms

  24. Yes, let me put myself in a mental state of the year I was born. First I'll need a crib…. and to get my parents back together…

  25. I always loved these games for the Macintosh. My old Performa 578 included Super Munchers as standard install (Along with Mario Teaches Typing, and Spectre)

    The Muncher series games were one of my favorites as a youngin.

  26. I can't remember what the game was called, but I remember a word/math game that had robots in it that was really good…

  27. Man, I remember Number Munchers… played it in like first grade. We all went to the computer lab for math time and got to play that. It's honestly the earliest interaction with a computer I can remember. I seem to remember that some screens were in black and white (or shades of green?), and a few got to play in color, and those were the best seats. :p
    That would have been… 1988 I guess. What a trip.

  28. Dang I clearly missed out on word munchers if it taught you IPA, would've been very useful in my formative years

  29. We've got an old Mac with "Super Munchers" on it. The Mac version looks slightly better than the DOS version, but it's the exact same gameplay…right down to that damn number catching mini-game…

  30. This was my #1 played game as a kid.
    My dad always had the high score, like CRAZYYYY score, 999.9999.999.999.
    Wasn't until i was like 9 when i figured out he was cheating by editing the stupid file that had the score board…

  31. i played this and oregon trail on an apple (all i remember bout which model was it had a blue screen) with 5 1/2 floppies back in middle school lol

  32. I remember trying to get the highest score in this game on all of the computers in the lab in 4th grade, always as "The Unknown Muncher".

  33. they had a later version of these at the library when i was little. i loved them, they were great. i never was able to get them for home though, tragically.

  34. My elementary school had at least Number Munchers, and possibly the others. And this was on XP computers, and I was in elementary from the early 2000's until 2011.

  35. Early 90s mindset indeed. I remember as a kid I learned from Super Munchers that O.J. Simpson was once famous as a football player.

  36. Hey, I remember playing this shit in school on really old apple computers that were just monochrome green. The game was on one of the bigger floppy disks. I never played super munchers that I recall though.

  37. i used to play this game in school but my school didnt have color screens just apple 2s and its neat seeing the game in full color not green

  38. Someone must have made a lot of money off this game, judging by how many of my fellow commenters played this in elementary school (as I did). Seems like it must have been in half the schools in America!

  39. I used to play number and word munchers when I was in the third grade and loved it hahaha. Now not so much lol

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