October 24, 2013 4:20 PM | Lena LeRay
As you can see above, the game is fantasy themed. It looks a lot like Kingdom Rush, with fun cartoony graphics and a sense of humor that people of all ages can be attracted to. Thematically, it has nothing to do with computers or hacking or anything like that. CodeCombat does exactly what an educational game should do, which is make the material to be learned a skill to be mastered so that the game can continue, rather than pounding the material into every sense it can appeal to. That's how you learn to control jumps in games, isn't it? You don't just drill your jumping skills. The game gives you a place to go, and if you want to get there you have to learn to jump.
Each stage in CodeCombat is a puzzle to be solved. You have a starting setup, with a map shown on the left and code on the right. By hitting play, you can run the code and clearly see what each unit is doing marked with animated lines and check points. You can see where the puzzle is hanging up and it's easy to compare the map to the code and see exactly which line is doing what. Hints and instructions are displayed in code comments, and at the bottom of the code box is your list of "spells" which can be typed into the code to make things happen. Hovering over a "spell" gives you more information on how to use it and each stage adds one new skill to your mental coding toolbox.
I personally have quite a bit of faith in these guys from my own days using Skritter. It may seem like learning to write kanji and learning to write code don't have a lot in common. In a lot of ways they are very different, but they have one thing in common: both require a lot of time spent just doing it over and over again. Most brains get tired of that quickly, and these guys have made it their thing to enable people to practice repetitive tasks in a way that is painless, engaging, and provides useful feedback.