Just before we headed off on holiday, the chance came up on Britmums to try out a new Mensa Academy brain training game on the Wii. The Mensa label initially put me off because it sounded serious and - dare I say it? - boring, but the write-up sounded good and, above all, family-friendly : "The game is packed with fun and stimulating mini-games and challenges suitable for the whole family. As a bonus, the simulated Mensa testing even shows how you're doing with an official Mensa IQ certificate." I was surprised to see that it has age 3+ on the box.
The game offers 100 levels and more than 80 different challenges across the five disciplines of Numeracy, Literacy, Logic, Memory and Visual, so we've barely scratched the surface so far. Sophie's been having great fun playing on the Solo mode working through the little challenges, such as putting words in alphabetical order and finding missing letters.
Grown-ups will probably prefer the 15 minute test though, containing 30 questions endorsed by Mensa, some of which are quite challenging and really make you think. They remind me of the logic tests the kids at school sometimes have to sit through and the great thing is, you can go through the explanations afterwards to see which questions you got wrong and why.
You can also play in party mode with up to 4 players and once we've all been training, I can see us all pitting our wits against each other to see who can get the highest score ! The practice and coaching modes will help younger players work out what they need to do without longwinded instructions and it's actually a very user-friendly game so you can just jump straight in and play. I would love a child/adult or difficulty setting so that parents and their children could play against each other more fairly, otherwise it's frustrating for younger players who are at a distinct disadvantage.
The colourful backgrounds and cute graphics make it really appealing to kids though so they'll have great fun playing and using their brains without even realising it. Sounds perfect for getting them back into learning mode just in time for going back to school !
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £24.99 (prices vary enormously so shop around)
Disclosure : We received a copy of the game in order to write an honest review.
Other reviews you may be interested in :