Developer: Nowproduction Inc.
# of Players: 1
N Amer - 06/12/2007
PQ2: Practical Intelligence Quotient Review
What is practical intelligence? Is it the decisions we make in our everyday lives? Is it the risks we take in Crazy Taxi or the chance we take in entering a taxi whose driver might be crazy? Could it be the five-second rule, which leads us to believe that food is only dirty after touching the ground for six seconds?
No matter what practical intelligence is, I never thought it would have anything to do with solving puzzles in a video game, not even after playing a game called Practical Intelligence Quotient. That changed with the PQ2, a sequel that replaces the insanity of the original with practical and intelligent puzzles that might just be worthy of judging your intelligence.
In our previous coverage of the game, we dove into the 100-stage mode that judges your PIQ in no more than five hours. The white silhouette is back as the playable character. Depending on your selected gender, it will don either a suit or a dress. Movable, immovable, and breakable (glass) blocks are cleverly used to make the player think before acting – and think again after acting improperly. The puzzles created for this game are more interesting than any character-based puzzle game before it.
Though it can be a game of trial and error, its ideals and implementations have advanced that concept. You are not merely running in circles, hoping that the solution will eventually reveal itself. Rather, you hunt for the answer, try to envision the pathway to the goal, and test your theory, leading to one of two outcomes: jubilation or exasperation. No matter how long it takes to achieve that jubilating essence, the player will come out the other side with one certainty – that, once the goal had finally been reached, the puzzle’s solution made perfect sense.
The downside to most single-player puzzle games is that, once completed, they don’t have the kind of replay value that’s found in multiplayer hits like the recently released Planet Puzzle League. PQ2’s puzzles are fun to play through a second time, especially if you’re like me and forget the solutions to some of them. (What frustration!) But there’s a better way to continue being challenged and entertained after the game has been finished: user-created puzzles. PQ2 offers an excellent and near limitless creation tool that is powerful enough to re-create the puzzles designed by the developers. No, there isn’t a reason to do that. But think about it: if you can re-create what they did, what else might be possible? How many minds could you boggle – could you boggle your own?
The game won’t let you throw something together for the heck of it since players have to test out every puzzle they make. It’s the game’s way of saying, “Let’s see if you’ve really done something or if you’re just trying to torture your friends.” Puzzles are “complete” immediately after the goal is reached, which proves that it is a valid challenge for others to solve. The time (how long you took) and number of executed moves becomes the benchmark for all others who attempt to solve the puzzle. It is then saved to your memory stick and may be uploaded to PQ2’s server for anyone to access.
Good puzzles don’t design themselves. But the creation tool is very user-friendly, much like those featured in the Tony Hawk games. You begin by selecting a playing field (called a prototype) and start with a max of 960 credits. Credits are used to purchase blocks, switches, doors, door rails, detectives, police officers, police boxes, and warp boxes. Floor blocks, the immovable objects that make up the shape of each stage, range in price but are usually no more than two credits.
Outside of the cost, there is no limit to how many floor blocks can be laid. The lowest quantity item is the warp box, which there can only be two of (to jump back and forth between locations), and the most expensive item is the police officer, who retails for 120 credits. Up to 20 red, blue, and yellow lifts (blocks that rise up) may be planted in your stage. Add a footstep-tracking detective to intensify the challenge of puzzles that don’t seem that difficult.
I like to place a detective right behind the last or second to last door that needs to be opened before you can reach the exit. Unless you’ve been smart enough to literally cover your tracks – which can be done by placing blocks over your footprints or by waiting several seconds until they disappear – the detective will begin his chase immediately. On their first time through, players are not likely to notice the tracker until it’s too late. I’ve learned to watch for detectives and time my moves correctly (and walk in circles) to avoid and confuse them. But I still get caught and still walk into laser beams that I know are there.
Players that aren’t ready to create their own puzzles can enjoy quick tests that combine five puzzles that must be solved in 10 minutes. Theme tests divide the game’s puzzles into various categories, such as single move, reasoning, and trap avoidance. There’s one set that challenges you to complete puzzles that have several solutions – but do so with the least amount of moves. Weekly Test allows you to go online for a test that’s made up of select user puzzles.
PSP owners with a passion for unique and special puzzle games must make PQ2 their next purchase. It is immensely deep and enjoyable, is fun to play through more than once, offers multiple play modes to test your PIQ, and has an amazing puzzle creation element that’ll extend the life of this game well into the fall gaming season. And that’s without a multiplayer component! Most impressive.
Review Scoring Details for PQ2: Practical Intelligence Quotient
The most unusual puzzle game since the first PQ and several times more practical. PQ2’s controls, camera, and all other gameplay functions work very well. You’ll have to come up with the best way to handle and release breakable glass. Lasers will need to be repositioned around special colored blocks without being touched. Many doors will have to be unlocked while avoiding rejects of The Blue Man Group, as well as the orange, footstep-tracking detectives.
PQ2’s contrasting colors look really good. The visuals are simple without being too simple.
Most of PQ2’s techno tracks are an annoyance. The ones that aren’t are just decent.
These puzzles are very practical. But they will make you think, re-think, and then think again.
Practical Intelligence Quotient 2 is a non-stop run of intelligent, thought-provoking puzzles that take switch, block, and door adjustments to unseen places.
Top-of-the-line entertainment – a must for anyone who wants a deep, satisfying, and puzzling challenge.
Top-of-the-line entertainment – a must for anyone who wants a deep, satisfying, and puzzling challenge
Reviewer: Louis Bedigian
Review Date: 06/20/2007