Tesco Mobile Presents New Brain Training Game on Facebook

The Nations NogginIn the past, there have been a number of quiz-like games on Facebook intended to “train” one’s brain for fun — titles such as Who Has The Biggest Brain? from Playdom and Wooga’s Brain Buddies. Now Tesco Mobile is looking to enter the genre with a new Facebook game called The Nation’s Noggin.

The Nation’s Noggin combines a collection of different mini-games intended to not only test general knowledge, but also incorporate a number of ways to measure things such as memory, hand-eye-coordination, reflexes, and so on. With a wide variety of tests, it is an app that occasional comes off as interesting, but as a whole lacks the cohesive flair of a game like Brain Buddies.

Players start out with a selection of randomly chosen mini-games. The “test” will contain eight out of the 12 possible games, covering a variety of different skills. Of these games, some are rather dull, while others far more creative. For each test, a target time limit is set, and players score points based on how quickly and accurately they complete it. However, for every mistake they make, time is added to the score and should too many mistakes be made, the player will fail the test.

Even should they fail, they will still proceed to the next mini-game on the list, but they will earn significantly less points for their total score.

Shopping CartWhile there are a lot of mini-games, the ones that stand out involve hand-eye-coordination and reflex. The first is dubbed “Doggy Commands” and tasks the player to trace a complex outline within a time frame so that a dog will perform a trick. However, the mouse pointer must remain within the tracing lines. “Trolly Dash” is a game where players use the mouse to steer a quickly moving grocery cart in order to pick up specific food produces without crashing into shelves; and “Get Your Dog Out” is a game where users must take a picture of a dog in a specific pose, while he randomly changes and moves about.

This last is one of the harder tests, as the dog tends to move quickly and players have to catch them, often, in the middle of a movement. This means he’ll only be in the correct position for a split-second. There are other fairly hard ones too, like “One the Button,” in which the user is given a subject (Wheel of Fortune-style) and a single clue toward the answer, and “Teenage Clicks” where a sullen teenager mumbles about random things having to do with current teenage pop-culturem, tasking the user with figuring out what they are talking about.

Teenage ClicksThe logic mini-games are also worth mentioning. One involves a chatting teenage girl, that the player is overhearing as she talks on the phone. Unfortunately, players don’t hear everything and must logically fill in the blanks in her conversation. Another is centered around random text messages, asking users to figure out the who, what, when, why, and where of whatever it is being talked about.

Aside from these, the remainder of the games are rather dull, consisting of basic arithmetic and short-term memory — nothing terribly original, though the math teaser does involve an amusingly grumpy old man.

While a number of these brain teasers are creative, Nation’s Noggin just lacks the pizzazz that its predecessors in the genre had. The Wooga and Playfish titles had a creative presentation to them with game show-like style and an avatar that interacted with the user. It felt like a game, while Nation’s Noggin, although made up of mini-games, feels more like a test.

Old Man

Socially, the game is not terribly in depth either, consisting of leaderboards and high scores. Focusing on the United Kingdom and the “Rest of the World” players can compare their test scores with everyone within the nation, amongst friends, or within a specific UK region.

In the end, The Nation’s Noggin has all the parts of a decent brain-teaser, but doesn’t come together as a complete game. It may find some success with friends competing for higher scores, but without a few changes, is unlikely to really catch on.