Mensa Academy is probably best described as brain training to the extreme. Pitting you against a series of more than 100 themed challenges, each of Mensa Academy's games is based around one of five subjects - Numeracy, Literacy, Visual, Logic, and Memory - but things here get taken a little bit further than on other similar games.
Asking you to solve equations with brackets, know your mental 13 times table, work out multiples and simplify fractions, all to a strict time limit, this is going to be challenging stuff for a lot of adults, never mind kids. While some puzzles in the Numeracy section may start out asking simple things like 7 + 6, they soon start involving brackets - (5 + 3) x 7, and go on to be practically evil on the later levels - (14 + 9) x ? = 299. Similarly, one of the games in the Literacy section gives you a word with two letters missing, and then asks you to choose which letters should fill the gap. It's easy enough when they ask you things like hai-cu-, but when you're meant to choose the missing letters for campano-ogi-t, things can get a little bit trickier. Similarly, the "Opposites" game, which asks you to choose the two words which are opposites out of four possibilities, starts by asking you to choose "push" and "pull", but ends asking you to spot "veteran" and "neophyte", or "theic" and "agnostic". Luckily, every game here gives you multiple choice options, so you're never on your own - but you are always against a rather strict time limit.
Because there are so many games, it's a bit tricky to put an age on this - some of the Maths questions are equivalent to level 5 Maths (and some are beyond), so your average 11 year old may be able to push themselves to answer a majority of the questions, but the English games seem to expect a vocabulary wider than most adult's! Never the less, an 11 year old ought to be able to have a decent stab at most of the game - and practicing mental maths can never be a bad thing!
As a brain training style game, there's nothing for parents to worry about at all here - no gore, violence, sex, or bad language. Not even slightly.
While on the 3DS, there's no multiplayer mode to speak of, on the Wii, up to four people can play together in one of two modes - Brain Battle, and Brain Race. Fairly similar concepts, each basically boils down to a race to see who can answer questions the quickest - there's not much to it, but it's a nice addition nonetheless.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo Wii