American Mensa Academy (iOS) Review
- Cute presentation
- Offers a lot to do
Not so much?
- It's cuteness may be a bit deceptive - it'll make you think
- Crashed a lot on iPod Touch, iPad ran flawlessly
Think you’re smart? American Mensa Academy will test your skills in a variety of brain training challenges and modes. Fans of Nintendo’s Brain Training games will enjoy this. If you have an iPad, but constantly crashed when playing on an iPod Touch.
If you liked brain training games released for the Nintendo DS, you’ll probably like the challenge and approachability of American Mensa Academy for the iOS. But don’t let the cute characters, and fun animations fool you, this is a seriously challenging application. The application is broken down into three modes: Play, Coach, and Test.
In Play mode, you can choose from 5 different categories: Language, Numeracy, Logic, Visual, and Memory, each of which offer 20 levels, which can be three-starred like levels in Angry Birds. You are scored on how quickly you answer as well as and how accurate you are. Each level has a pass mark, which you should be able to easily pass, but as you progress the challenge, as expected, increases.
The Play mode is deceptively cute, and often uses playful illustrations and animations, but will challenge you handily. While it looks like a family friendly brain-teaser game, don’t expect it to be a walk in the park.
Like Nintendo’s Brain Training games, they seem approachable to all ages, but it’s definitely tailored for an older crowd. There are some tests, like the visual- and memory-categorized games, that may be easy enough for younger children, but being able to read is required to follow some instructions or properly answer them. I let my 5-year-old try it out for a bit, and while it did well with the matching, when it came to answering specific questions about the sequence of items, he had no idea what they were asking, and I had to read him the questions.
American Mensa Academy’s Coach mode also consists of mini-games from the same five categories in the Play mode: Language, Numeracy, Logic, Visual, and Memory. These tests, however, have fewer levels, but offer many of the similar tasks found in the Play mode. The Visual and Memory categories offer 3 levels, while the rest feature 7 levels. Each accessible level has three different difficulty mode: bronze, silver, and gold. Once you complete the bronze challenge, you’ll unlock the tougher modes. After completing the higher challenges, you’ll unlock the other levels.
The Coach mode is also tough. Each level has a pass mark, which often requires to you to pass all ten of the tests perfectly. There is no room for mistakes in this mode.
The last and final mode in American Mensa Academy is the Test mode, which gives you an all-out Mensa-style test. The goal is to answer 30 questions in 15 minutes. If I can give some advice on this mode: have a piece of paper and a pencil handy, as you’ll probably need to jot things down to help you answer the questions. As opposed to the previous two modes, the Test mode feels like, well… a test. You are not presented with a cutesy style presentation – this is a straight-up exam. Expect to be challenged!
If you get stuck, you can jump around, answering any question in the order of your choosing. You can also submit the test at any time.
Once you’re done, your score is calculated. According to the bell chart, the lowest score is 20 and the highest is 180. Just for fun, I submitted a blank test (honestly, I didn’t answer all 30 questions incorrectly), and received a 40. The average score seems to fall between 80 and 120. If you’re between 120 and 180, you might be good enough to join the real Mensa organization. Nerd.
When it comes to recommending this app, American Mensa Academy is not for everyone. If you enjoy brain teasers and puzzle games, especially games like the Brain Training games for the Nintendo DS, this will be right up your alley. The Play mode is accessible to young children, but reading is a huge part of some of the tasks. I think for middle school, high school and college types would benefit the most out of it.
American Mensa Academy is a universal app, which means that it can be played on both the iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch. But as of this review, the game is practically unplayable on anything other than my 3rd-generation iPad. The 4th-generation iPod Touch crashed constantly. If you’re not playing it on an iPad, I’d definitely wait to pick this up until they release a more stable version. It is available in the iTunes App Store for $4.99.