There have been a number of social games in recent month seeking to teach people something new, or at the very least, get them thinking. The latest in education gaming, however, hails all the way from Spain with the brain-training app InGenius, by Zed Worldwide. Available on the Android, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry, its a game that has most of its bases covered. However, our core interest lies in the recently launched Facebook version where the game already garners north of 170,000 monthly active users. Of course, this begs the question as to why. Here is our closer look.
InGenius is best compared to older titles such as Who Has The Biggest Brain? and Brain Buddies. It’s a compilation of various mini-games intended to test one’s thinking skills and rate their level of brain power, so-to-speak. With each of the four games technically sound, the game feels lacking in its sense of style, and its initial hook, a bit weak. That said, it does have some rather curious social elements that do add a good deal of flavor to the basic concept.
There are four regions of the brain tested in InGenius: Memory, perception, math, and logic. Each section is timed, and despite being common choices in such games, each one does its job fairly well, although the memory game is the weakest of the four.
In it, players are granted a grid of cards, with some of them turning over for a few seconds, revealing some shapes. The idea, is to choose from which of four shapes appeared after the cards are flipped back face down. However, on an initial play through, the cards like to flip back over after you make a selection. This happens, just before the next round of new flips, and as one can see, can get very confusing; especially when under a time limit.
Though memory gets annoying, the other three work fine. Perception is a game of determining which of four colored orbs has the most on screen. It sounds very easy, and it is at first, but as the user progresses, more and more orbs are added and even begin to move about.
Math, on the other hand, is less interesting as it is merely simple arithmetic. Oddly, players do not actually solve the equations, but just state whether the answer given is true or false. It’s a little dull, honestly, but then again, the math sections for most of these games are rarely exciting.
The last game is logic, which, is fairly amusing and about as interesting as the perception game. It’s a simple matter of determining which image, in a set of images, does not belong. It’s very easy at first, but as more images are added, and time widdles away, it does get pretty hard to be accurate. As an example, the common trend could be flowers, then the next one might be plants. Since the game reuses images a lot, something that fit in the previous category may not fit in the next one, forcing the player to be extremely careful and not choose out of impulse. However, under the duress of time, that becomes quite a challenge.
As was stated before, each of the four games are technically sound. Nevertheless, they really feel lacking in the style department. They feel very basic and don’t have much of an interesting flair to them. In Zed’s defense, there are, actually, 12 other games to play, besides the ones described. Unfortunately, each one must be purchased with a virtual currency dubbed InGenius Coins (which, curiously, can also be bought with Facebook Credits). The problem is, the drab mini-games the player starts with just don’t feel like enough of a hook to truly coax the player into wanting to buy the other games. Typically speaking, players that actually make purchases tend to do so after getting addicted to a game.
There is one factor that helps in this matter. Socially, the game has basic achievements and leaderboards, with an amusing visual of what the player is “smart enough” to invent (e.g. shoulder pads), but what is much more interesting is the concept of “The Brain Race.” It’s really nothing more than analytics, but InGenius takes the time to measure who is the smartest from day to day based on gender, age, and even country. As its self-reported demographics currently stand, the average “InGenius Level” is favoring women, and players under 18.
Overall, InGenius feels typical. It does have a lot of nice mini-games to test one’s “intelligence,” but having them cost a virtual currency right off the bat doesn’t feel like a wise move. The initial four games just don’t seem addictive or stylish enough to really hook the player and coax them into buying the others. That said, the social, competitive elements are a nice edition, and do add a nice, extra layer, of novelty to the game. In the end, InGenius is a decent game, but it truly needs something more to really make itself shine.