However you feel about it, there’s no denying the casual market is profitable. After all, what are the odds your granny has even had a tentative go on Modern Warfare? While Nintendo may be sitting pretty atop mountains of cash, not everyone is happy about it and as a self-proclaimed hardcore gamer I’ll admit to approaching Live Arcade’s Encleverment Experiment with trepidation and a good deal of scepticism. True enough my first few hours were spent alone in a bored stupor, pausing only to roll my eyes at the mundane and unenthused voice acting. After adding a few friends into the mix, however the experience became considerably more enjoyable.
Blitz Arcade’s Encleverment Experiment features 16 mini-games designed to test your math skills, powers of observation and memory recall. One task might have you finding one of four possible phrases in a word search and another will have you selecting the correct cog to finish a sequence. There’s a good variety on offer but you can play each of these in Marathon mode, taking no longer than a few minutes to complete on the medium setting. The problem with single player is that instead of presenting a scaling challenge in line with your ability, the difficulty can be erratic; patronising one moment and thoroughly confounding the next. At times it appears to be aimed at children with tasks no more difficult than subtracting 5 from 6. The trouble arises when the next question demands you multiply 22 by 17 and you aren’t near a calculator. The next thing you know you’re being asked to remember a woman’s face then select her from amongst a handful of balding men.
The main pull of the game is clearly multiplayer. You can take on three friends online and locally with avatar support, Big Button controller and the Live Vision camera should you be that way inclined. Here the game functions in much the same way as movie trivia game Scene It, where each player buzzes in with the answer, the fastest person collecting the most points. These points translate into ‘noodles’, serving as in-game currency and allowing you to purchase animal mascots of varying species and style. Though not adding much, it’s nice that a reward system is in place and gives you something to shoot for should you choose to get that involved. On the whole you’ll be playing with a few friends because it’s actually fun to do, providing a sense of achievement that vanishes once you tackle the game alone.
Graphically the game is simple yet bland and the colours fail to pop resulting in a distinct lack of visual charm. Music and sound effects fare no better with the droll Professor Ivor repeating the same lines until the moment you turn off. As a Live Arcade title the presentation is functional but a little more spit and polish could have gone a long way in attracting the younger audience Blitz Arcade has clearly strived for.
So then, Encleverment Experiment is a poor attempt until you take the game online or get a few willing friends over for a quick game. It’s certainly worth noting the Scene It games can be found for just a few notes should you need a quick party fix and both feature considerably more content for cost. Unlikely to win anyone over on the single player, gamers should think long and hard when it comes to a full purchase. Children will garner some enjoyment from the cute mascots and simple gameplay but the game fails utterly and completely in its attempts at being a practical brainteaser.
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