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PQ: Practical Intelligence Quotient (PSP) artwork

PQ: Practical Intelligence Quotient (PSP) review


"When opening a review, the writer is supposed to talk about something that's relevant to the subject at hand. A theme must be established and through a series of brief observations, readers should be given a glimpse of what is to come. I am stupid. "



When opening a review, the writer is supposed to talk about something that's relevant to the subject at hand. A theme must be established and through a series of brief observations, readers should be given a glimpse of what is to come.

I am stupid.

Now granted that may not have been the best way to introduce the PSP's latest puzzler, it is however purely indicative of where Intelligent License will take you. You see, what we have here is a PQ test, and it's a means by which players can measure not only their ability to improvise, but their analytical skills as well. A word of warning though, at no point will its developers, Now Productions, be held responsible for any damage your self-confidence may or may not sustain. This is a game for smart people, everyone else should stick with Tetris...

Practical Intelligence Quotient

Upon booting Intelligent License for the first time, players may be surprised to find themselves cast as the proverbial rat in the maze. Yes it's a puzzler, yet there are no falling blocks and nary a chain combo to be found, nadda. In fact, almost every genre staple is missing in action, in their place a single room, a solitary exit, and any number of obstacles lay in wait. Your mission Jim, should you choose to accept it, is to navigate your way through each environment while holding true to a few basic principles. Crates can be dragged or pulled out of your way while boxes may be stacked upon each other and provide a means with which to reach higher ground. An assortment of security systems then give players reason to watch their step, and should an alarm be raised, the reset button is hit and it's time to start again.

But if that sounds simple enough, think again. Intelligent License is a nightmare of cold hard logic, and it's one that having been sampled, soon becomes an almost compulsive obsession. Notice how the structure of each room has been ingeniously designed, providing both a limited area in which to maneuver, and an increasingly difficult means of escape. Furthermore, the way forward is never clear, and only through a little lateral thinking and a lot of patience will the solution finally present itself.

For example, at one point you will need to reach a doorway located three levels up on the opposite side of the room, and the only way to achieve their goal is by assembling the 7 pieces of a broken staircase located nearby. Problem: a one way conveyor belt is your only means to cross the floor, and once on the other side, workspace will be at a premium. What should you do? By loading said pieces onto the conveyor belt in the correct order, players can maximize their resources and thusly complete the staircase where once it may have been impossible to assemble. Then as if to complicate matters, patrolling guards, trip lasers and automated doors come into play, upping the ante to near brain hemorrhaging proportions.

And just so we're crystal clear on this, you've got zero margin for error.

For all its good intentions however, not everything has come up trumps. Of primary concern is a stubborn camera system which, for reasons that remain unclear, cannot be manually reset. Of course, that's not to say that Now Productions have dropped the ball as they've sought to alleviate such fundamental concerns in the most unorthodox of fashions. By dividing the play-field up into a series of grid-like squares, players can easily follow their movements in the game world, even if the angle appears completely wrong. And its this utilitarian approach that works the most magic, adding a Virtual Reality-esque theme that further compliments the overall feel of the game. A melodious score then underpins the entire package, adding a final touch of polish to a product that was always looking pretty sweet indeed.

Even still, Intelligent License may not be everyone's cup of tea. Heck, it may not even be their glass of warm milk. The heady platform based puzzle action is most certainly unique, and for a system currently starved of interesting new software, it comes as an invigorating breath of fresh air. Random difficulty spikes and the occasional camera concern aside, there's very little here that one could honestly say needs more work. And while a few more stages would have surely been appreciated, one can't fault the amount of variety that each challenge represents. The rush felt at successfully solving a room is second to none, and in a way easily compensates for any frustrations felt at the player's own lack of mental agility. So go on, pluck up the courage, slap down the money, and if you're really smart, get yourself an Intelligent License. I may not be the brightest kid on the block, but I do know a good thing when I see it. Check it out!

Pros
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* Intelligent License is wholly unique
* There's an interesting blend of puzzle/platform action to be had
* Few games can match the level of concentration demanded from players
* A huge variety of background elements will keep you guessing
* An increased difficulty challenges all comers
* The simple graphics are not only functional, but good looking as well
* Top PQ scores can be posted online and ranked globally
* A low key soundtrack proves fitting
* Finally, something truly interesting to fill our PSPs with

Cons
----

* Intelligent License may be too intimidating for some
* An inability to lock the camera can prove troublesome
* Random difficulty spikes prove confusing

Rating: 8/10

midwinter's avatar
Staff review by Michael Scott (June 02, 2005)

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zippdementia posted May 19, 2010:

This is really good review and makes me want the game instantly.
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CoarseDragon posted May 28, 2010:

I just noticed this. This game sounds great - good review.

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