Do you feel dumb? I feel dumb.
American Mensa Academy from Square Enix is one of those brain training titles that became increasingly popularized after the release of Brain Age for the Nintendo DS. While some may call it an educational game, it is not a game in the vein of Carmen San Diego. In fact, I would hesitate to call it a game, much in the same way that I wouldn’t classify Brain Age as a true game. There are objectives and rules, but American Mensa Academy is about sharpening your mental acuity, not learning, or playing a game.
The app is good at what it does. I found myself initially taken aback by the quick pacing of many of the questions and unable to succeed. Once I caught up, though, I found that Mensa’s interface is very well suited for touch devices and for its quiz style interaction. No matter which of the three modes you play, it is entirely about answering a series of brain teasing questions. These questions span across language, numeracy, logic, visual and memory oriented challenges. I gravitate towards enjoying the math questions, but each segment is equally diverse and challenging.
Mensa Academy’s presentation is fun, with most questions employing some kind of fantastical theme as a fun backdrop. I was distracted by the animated backgrounds during my initial runs, but eventually learned to tune them out. I still don’t quite get the old man “character” that serves as the guide. I understand he is supposed to add flavor, but he reminds me of clippy the paperclip.
Eventually, you may want to test yourself. Although it would be a good idea to learn all of the challenge modes first, the fifteen minute test is definitely a good way to judge how sharp you are, and to compare how sharp using the app has made you.
That is the best thing I can say about this app. Frequent use of it can actually make you feel more mentally aware- which is an actual real world benefit of what is being billed as a “game.” After playing this on a long train ride, I am more inclined to tackle larger calculations in my head at work as opposed to my instinctual reach for the calculator. Brain Age did the same for me, and American Mensa Academy feels like a more robust version of that treasured Nintendo title.
It is also a Square Enix release without any In App Purchases, good job SE.
American Mensa Academy is available as a Universal download for $4.99