key review info
- Game: Mind Quiz
- Platform: PSP
- Gamepad support: N/a
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
The PSP's slowly becoming the new Nintendo portable console, providing basic games that don't even fill up 10 percent of an UMD. However, such titles can be more fun than the acclaimed sequels and ports of famous gaming series, simply because they keep you glued to the screen longer than the forementioned games. Mind Quiz is one of these titles and it doesn't feature tons of eye candy, relying mostly on its original gameplay. In case you ever wanted to put your mental skills to the test and take advantage of your gray matter, you'll adore the game. However, if you hate Math and everything related to it, you should probably stick to Prince of Persia: Rival Swords.
Concept & Gameplay
You'll start the game by creating a profile, inputing a name and selecting your date of birth. The game features lots of brain training modes that the player can access thanks to a pretty simple and good-looking interface. Through this system, you'll use a computer at the left of the screen to view your stats, scores and results. Also, you'll check out a chart that shows which categories you are good or bad at and a calendar that keeps track of the dates when you answered certain questions. Have you noticed the long thin machine in the background? That's were you'll be saving your progress, in order to load your stats each time you're in the mood for a mental challenge.
Getting down to the basics, you'll start by taking a brain age test that measures your brain's age by prompting you to solve 4 types of questions. A young and active brain should be in the 20's, but don't get sad if you fail, because it takes time to get used to the game's system and you can ruin a test by pressing a couple of wrong buttons. In order to become skilled while playing Mind Quiz, you should try the basic training mode, choosing any question that you like. At first, your options are limited, but as you progress and answer different types of questions new and cooler ones will be unlocked. Sega's title also features a challenge mode that will allow you to travel around the world, testing your skills through a series of questions. After completing this trip, you'll receive a brain trainer award and you'll probably want to check out the trial exam mode.
One must surely wonder what you can get for passing all these tests and the answer is ... animal pictures. That's right, the great prize is a gallery featuring pictures of cute animals photographed while looking funny. Back to the brain age test, you'll have to solve 4 types of questions in order to challenge your neurons: calculation, reflex, judgement and memory. At the end of the test, the player can record his results and you must remember that such tests can only be taken once a day. You'll start with something fairly easy, a couple of addition and subtraction questions and, unless you've never passed first grade, answering them will be a ball. The next task you'll have to perform will be entering sequences of numbers, from the lowest one to the highest, by pressing the assigned buttons in order. Finally, once you're done playing with numbers, you'll have to choose patterns that are identical to a given sample.
The last challenge will require you to memorize on-screen patterns, remembering their position and color correctly. There are 4 answers to choose from, so stay sharp and try to get the best time and the most correct answers. If you're playing it safe and choose the training mode, there's the option of selecting the number of questions you have to answer to. The minimum is 5 and you can add as many as you want, if you think you're up to the challenge.
In case you picked the calculation challenges, you'll get to choose from a wide array of sub-modes, like calculate, pick a symbol or pick a number and many other unlockables like picture math or moving numbers. In calculation mode, the player will use numbers and pictures to fill in the blanks and answer all the questions correctly. The game's difficulty can be adjusted, so you'll answer addition and multiplication questions with results that range from 1 to 4 if you've selected the easy difficulty mode and combined operations questions if you've selected the hard mode.
Also, you can complete equations by picking symbols and filling the blanks, in the second sub-mode of the calculation challenge. Just add that plus or minus where it belongs and you'll get a straight A. In case Math's not your favorite subject, there's always the reflex challenge, where you get to choose the number with the highest value. Reflex includes a button erase sub-mode that allows the player to press the action buttons in order to erase the on-screen numbers, but once you're done with one of them, pushing the same button again makes you fail. After these tests have been completed, you can see a report card that includes the number of questions you answered, the difficulty, the time it took you to complete the whole test, the number of correct answers, the points you got and your grade.
The unlockables are once again neater than the standard challenges from the reflex mode, as you will get to rotate 4 pieces of a puzzle, toy with colored letters and play an old-school rock paper scissors game. Passing on to the judgement questions, in this mode a player has to count or find objects of the same shape, identical to those on the left of the screen. Having finished the training mode, your brain will surely want more, so the challenge mode's the next thing you'll have to try. The first thing you'll notice is that this game mode features a tougher teacher that will prompt you to answer questions from 38 countries. You'll first select Asia and answer calculation-based questions in Japan, passing to the lines, shapes and objects comparisons from China and then accessing the other countries.
The final challenge is the trial exam divided intro 4 categories: genre exam, accuracy exam, limited time and time trial. These challenges will require the player to answer consecutive questions in a certain amount of time, or complete a challenge in one minute. If you're into this type of game, you'll find Mind Quiz to be truly challenging, with the risk of becoming boring as you progress. However, the questions are varied and random, so you won't run into the same challenges over and over again, unless you're a very unlucky gamer.
Mind Quiz is all gameplay and the only graphics one can perceive are the game's interface. You'll interact with a cute teacher, who's pretty friendly or her evil counterpart, a brunette woman that will surely get on your nerves, as she complains about your poor skills. Other than that, we're dealing with a colorful game and a pretty nice gallery filled with funny pictures of animals.
Not much to comment upon here, either, except for the fact that the game's music is easily ignored, while your brain's on fire and you're being focused. I recommend you to play this game while keeping the volume low, because some gamers can get distracted by the soundtrack, unless they're listening to something else while playing.
Mind Quiz features a Network option with two sub-modes: player search and participate. While I haven't yet found anyone eager to compete with me in a Mind Quiz multiplayer session, I suppose that it should be a pretty fun experience, specially for a couple of geek teens who are looking for the perfect "party" game.
We've read many newspapers and magazines that said we should keep our "mens sana" (healthy mind) in order to slow down the aging process and prevent all sorts of illnesses. Psychologists usually recommend solving one crossword each day, or learning one poem by heart per day. If these seem basic methods of keeping your brain fit, Mind Quiz can be considered shock therapy, since it provides great ways to stimulate your neurons, increase your memory's capacity and your calculus skills while having fun playing Sega's title.