The Genius Test – Could You Be One? That is the slogan for this little box of wonders. And SPOILER, if you read my review for ‘Riddles And Conundrums’, you will already know that I certainly am not. Just like my time with that challenge box, I managed to be completely fooled before even getting to the contents inside. I went into this already feeling like a chump, but at least I had amused myself.
The Neanderthal Strikes Again!
So, how was this humble peasant fooled by a simple box? I approached this one in a manner to avoid the mistakes I made with the first one, trying to carefully slide the first card out of the pack. And I could not do it! But of course, I was hoodwinked by a perfectly printed cover, that I had not noticed. Applause for the monkey if you would.
Inside the box, you will find 94 puzzles spread out across 49 large format cards, and 1 efficiently written introduction card. The puzzles in this box are a boisterous assortment of sequence deciphering, matrix deciphering, lateral thinking, spatial, disguised algebra, and a bunch of the hardest damn wordsearches you have ever laid your eyes on.
The cards themselves are of great quality. They are waterproof, which allows you to write on them with a felt tip without worrying about permanent markings. I have not been able to test them with markers, but I imagine they would yield the same results.
The puzzles themselves are absolutely mind-melting. Truthfully, I would be disappointed if a Mensa test was easy. I thoroughly enjoyed spending my time with these challenges though, even if I did not do so well in them. I found them to be much more my kind of challenge than the ones in Riddles and Conundrums.
A High Degree of Intellect Tends to Make a Man Unsocial
Arthur Schopenhauer – World's hardest-to-pronounce surname.
I would highly recommend going into The Genius Test with a keen awareness that the majority of these challenges are going to go straight over your head. I spent a good six or so hours trying meticulously to solve as many of these as I could. Ultimately, I had an absolute ball making my brain jump through hoops and thinking in ways I am not used to thinking in. But I did not fool myself once into thinking I was going to be getting a phone call from Mensa at the end of my time with The Genius Test.
Each type of challenge was presented to me with a little introduction to that type of puzzle. I appreciated reading a little bit about them and where they originated. This did not, in any way shape or form make things easier for me.
Pain and Suffering are Always Inevitable for a Large Intelligence
Fyodor Dostoevsky – World’s most unconvincingly not fabricated name.
If this quote bore any fruit, then I would be the world's most profitable fruit salesman. I had the same issue with this puzzle pack as I had with Riddles and Conundrums, in that some of the questions require you to have knowledge in such an abstract topic. For example:
There are 4 letters, and we need to figure out what the 5th letter is. K M S L ?
To do this, we are assured that the letters are all the first letter in 5 different words, that are all connected by a theme. What is the theme? Good question. That is also left for you to solve. Turns out that the theme is former soviet leaders.
The benefit to this puzzle pack however is that it does genuinely tell you “don’t get too obsessed” that there have been masterminds out there that never solved them. And that at least is a small comfort to take.
The Only True Wisdom is in Knowing You Know Nothing
Socrates – World’s first ‘dude’.
There is a healthy serving of different puzzle types in The Genius Test. I found them to be vastly different from those in the Riddles and Conundrums pack, which I am thankful for. After struggling for hours on end with the brain-bending, I sighed a breath of relief when I found that the last batch of puzzles were word searches.
Oh, how wrong I was to allow myself that moment of respite. Some of the words in the word searches change direction NINE TIMES. I loved them though. They were ultimately my favourite puzzles out of the whole pack.
The Test Results…
So, it is that time again where I reveal the fruits of my labour to you all. Am I the genius that my mother so lovingly claims I am? Mental countdown from 10 if you would please…
25/94 was my overall score. You did count down the whole 10 seconds, right? It makes the big reveal all that more pungent if you do. So, am I a genius? The short answer is: absolutely not. Not by any single definition of the phrase. However, as with the Riddles and Conundrums, there is no reference sheet, nothing to compare to or a congratulatory pessimistic remark to make you feel like you have achieved anything. You will have to rely on your own ingenuity.
I also need to quickly mention that the actual box, as much as it is a clever idea, just does not work as intended. I accidentally damaged the box for Riddles and Conundrums, so I avoided doing so with The Genius Test. But this time around I had no choice but to intentionally rip the box to get to the cards. The replayability is much better in this box however, as the puzzles are that complicated, there is next to no chance you will remember the answers.
After all is said and done, however, I had an incredibly interesting time with Mensa: The Genius Test, and I am looking forward to spending some time with the rest of the series.