Following on from the success of other brain training titles comes the Encleverment Experiment onto the Xbox Live Arcade. This wave of brain games seems to come out of some desire to generate intelligence through gaming, and it seems that this is only with muted success.
Encleverment Experiment pits gamers against puzzles ranging from memory tasks, to mathematical and reaction puzzles, as well as pattern recognition. The storyline would have you believe that a madcap Professor is performing experiments to enhance intelligence and effectively needs your help to try them out. They are all designed to enhance the thinking of certain parts of the brain, enabling you over time to be quicker and, well, more intelligent. If only it were that simple.
Encleverment Experiment initially looks to be a good game, it's very nicely packaged into a cutesy graphical interface which has you choosing an animal mascot to represent you in a battle of wits.
This packaging (along with the entertaining animal avatars) are in fact a highlight of the game. It really is well implemented and enjoyable to view, along with the sometimes entertaining though very repetitious commentary from the Professor. The actual mind puzzles are somewhat less inspired, and in fact can feel quite tedious. Most of the puzzles you are asked to complete feel very similar, and there simply doesn’t appear to be enough variation in the game. We certainly could see ourselves improving overtime, and the game can track our progress, however its difficult to know if this is because we are becoming smarter or simply because we are becoming so damn used to the different puzzles.
The multiplayer element of the game is probably the one that will give players the biggest kick, as it can be quite exhilarating pitting your wits against another human opponent. It certainly can lead to some interesting battles. Either that or as mentioned earlier you can complete puzzles and the Professor will track your progress, or rather your ‘intelligence’, and let you know how you are doing. The campaign is certainly the dullest of all elements, since the AI doesn’t really give you a fair chance, particularly as they already know all the answers.
It may well be that kids will get the biggest thrill out of this game, however for kids some aspects might again be too difficult. It's as though Encleverment Experiment tries to appeal to a wider audience and fails to really please any of them.
It's a shame that the developers didn’t spend more time implementing a more diverse range of puzzles that would provide considerably more longevity. It's not a bad game, but it's also really not particularly entertaining and the only chance you’ll enjoy it at all is with a second player next to you on the couch.
With some more entertaining and diverse puzzles in the pleasant interface it could have been quite a success, but as it stands there really isn’t any very good reason to pick this up unless you are really hankering for an average brain training game on your Xbox 360.