Will you be wearing a professor’s hat or a dunce’s cap?
The last few years have seen brain-training games drift out of fashion, with the explosion of interest caused by Dr Kawashima's Brain Age dying out once a BBC study doused marketing claims with healthy scepticism. It turns out, said the BBC, that these games don't actually improve cognitive function at all – you just get better at the tests.
Stretching your mental muscles can still be fun, however – as Mensa Academy attempts to prove with its light-hearted presentation and straightforward idea of coaching you for an official Mensa exam.
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It's an idea which works for the most part too. The tests are divided into areas such as Language, Visual and Memory and are charmingly presented using caricaturised theatre props and cardboard cutouts. The idea is that you learn the basics in one of two practice modes, then pit yourself against the final exam to discover if you're eligible for Mensa membership. We're not, sadly.
While the idea works in a broad sense, Mensa Academy suffers for a lack of direction and information. There's no explanation offered about why tests are worthwhile, nor any performance tracking to indicate if you're getting better or worse over time. You don't even need to do the coaching section at all, in fact – and if you do then there's no way to easily see what benefit it has.
There are a lot of tests on offer, at least – over 100 of them, running from anagrams and codebreakers to memory tests and basic sums. If you're playing in the practice modes then these get steadily harder over time, though that isn't difficult considering the first question we got asked was literally "What is 1+1?"
Ultimately though, without any real communication or direction to guide you along, Mensa Academy just feels too arbitrary to recommend wholeheartedly. You don't even need to complete the Coaching mode before you can unlock the final exam; you can just skip straight there and find out that you too probably have an average intelligence.
Sorry Mensa, but Dr Kawashima still has the edge.
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More accessible than most brain training games, Mensa Academy may get right down to the business of puzzling but it lacks the depth that will keep you coming back for more.
Mensa endorsed; Find out your Mensa score; Fun
Won't actually make you more intelligent; No detailed statistics or explanations
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