PSP Review - 'Practical Intelligence Quotient 2'

by Tim McCullough on July 15, 2007 @ 8:37 a.m. PDT

PQ2 will help players calculate their intelligence by using the PQ scoring system based on the number of moves and the speed with which they complete more than 250 puzzles.

Genre: Puzzle
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Developer: Now Production
Release Date: June 12, 2007

There are probably dozens of ways to attempt to test someone's intelligence. No, I am not talking about day-to-day intelligence, like a person's ability to make it through a day without being run over by a beer truck. I am talking about comparable quotients produced by taking strange tests created by men and women with pocket protectors and white coats. But how can anyone ever take any of these tests seriously? Human beings are so sophisticated and diverse, it seems almost impossible to be able to accurately measure intelligence from individual to individual — unless you own a PSP, that is.

Practical Intelligence Quotient 2 presents players with a series of 3D logic puzzles which will test and generate a PQ (Practical Quotient), which is a measure of a player's intelligence based on a modularity theory of intelligence research program developed by Dr. Masuo Koyasu, Professor of Psychology at Kyoto University. The timed tests are presented in both a long and short version and can actually be studied and practiced before taking the actual tests. After completing a test, you will be able to see an extensive analysis of your results and your assigned PQ. PQ2 then takes your PQ score even further by allowing you to upload it to a ranking system for comparison with players around the world. You can even download additional puzzles to try. PQ2 includes a series of hands-on tutorials which explain all of the various elements that will be encountered during gameplay. PQ2 supports game-sharing, and it will allow an owner to beam a 10-puzzle demo version to another PSP.

PQ2 presents you with various ways to compete against the clock and solve the game's numerous puzzles. You can try to complete the main 100 puzzle Test within a period of five hours; take a Quick Test, where you must solve five puzzles within 10 minutes; or select from a number of themed tests which include Single-Move Tests, Reasoning Tests, Trap Tests, Fewest Move Tests, and Advanced Tests. PQ2 includes a non-timed Collection Mode to play any of the puzzles without it affecting your main PQ2 test scores. While testing, you can "pass" on puzzles, but doing so will affect your overall rating score.

Although 3D spatial puzzles have been around for years, PQ2 adds a variety of passive and active elements to make it more difficult for you to get through to the exit of a puzzle. Blocks, switches, lasers, lifts, doors, warps, police officers and detectives will all need to be navigated to solve any given puzzle. Your score will be a reflection of how efficiently and quickly you have solved a puzzle, not just the fact that you made it through to the exit.

There are fixed blocks, and there are movable blocks which you can lift and push or pull. Glass blocks will break if they fall more than a single elevation, and laser blocks will need to be moved, blocked or redirected so you can get past them. Policemen will end your game if they find you on the puzzle map while they patrol. Detectives will find your footsteps and attempt to track you down, unless they are deceived by your attempts to cover your tracks. Triggers and Lifts usually work together to allow you to access higher elevations using expanding blocks that act like lifts. Triggers can also be used to move large blocks to open new pathways on a puzzle map. Warps allow you to transport to other locations on a puzzle map.

Overall, controlling the movement of your character through the puzzle map is pretty straightforward. Simply use the four direction buttons to move. By the time you complete the initial tutorials, control of PQ2 will be second nature. You will often find it necessary to rotate your screen so you can see all aspects of the puzzle on which you are working, and this is easily accomplished using your "L" and "R" buttons to rotate through all four sides of the map. If you require even more camera control, you can use the analog joystick pad to smoothly rotate and move around the environment.

While you are solving a puzzle, if you feel you have reached a dead end, or you see a better way of solving a puzzle, you have the ability to retry any puzzle you are playing. Keep in mind that when you retry a puzzle, it does not reset the amount of time that you have already spent on it.

It will be the time constraint that will stress you out while playing PQ2. Fortunately, it is possible to practice and develop strategies for each of the puzzles by playing them in the timer-less Collection Mode; this is also a nice way to optimize your PQ scores by practicing and discovering the solutions to the puzzles without actually having it affect your main PQ score ratings. If you consider that this feature is included as part of the game, it is reasonable to conclude that your PQ rating is highly adjustable, and in fact, is easily improvable. I recommend attempting to play through the puzzles without practicing them first because it makes the game much more challenging and your PQ score a bit more accurate.

To help improve the replay value of PQ2, the title includes a built-in editor which allows you to build your own challenging puzzles for friends or for submission to other players around the world. In addition to allowing you to place puzzle elements where you want them, the builder will allow you to name it, adjust visual properties such as tile colors and style, starting camera angles and even the background music that will be played.

The graphics in PQ2 are fairly simplistic and are designed to present a clean, modern-looking interface and game board. For the type of game this is, I didn't find the quality or presentation of the graphics to be an issue, nor would they warrant any additional praise. As you play, you will usually hear a melodic, spacey soundtrack in the background; you won't have any control over this background music other than to change its volume level.

Although PQ2 does not support a multiplayer mode, it does provide a worldwide player ranking system with the ability to submit your PQ rating information, upload and download user-created puzzles, and download new weekly tests.

PQ2 provides a challenging 3D puzzle-solving environment with excellent replay value thanks to the built-in puzzle editor and an extensive online puzzle-sharing system. Keep in mind that once you have solved the base puzzles and memorized their solutions, the game becomes more of a speed trial than a test of intellect. Although it may measure some elements of your IQ, I would not take its analysis seriously, as it's much more for entertainment and friendly competition. Logic masters will definitely be interested in adding this title to their collections.

Score: 7.8/10

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