The Wii U eShop is filled to the brim with low-budget kids' games these days, and Ninja Pig Studios' IQ Test seems like just another to heap on the pile... but looks can be deceiving. Beneath the simplistic exterior, IQ Test is a real mind-bender: a series of trick questions designed to get you to think outside the box. If you ever took one of those infamous quizzes in grade school that said "read all the instructions before answering any questions" and at the bottom of the page was "Don't answer any questions," you're in for a similar experience here.
Whether it's a clever twist on the brain-training concept or if it's just trolling players, IQ Test will surprise you. After the straightforward opening puzzle of "Tap the ducks from largest to smallest," the second riddle is "Tap here to continue" with a large green button below the text. If you press the button, you fail the test and get a goofy sad trombone sound — you're meant to take the instructions literally, and actually tap on the text that says "tap here" rather than tap on the button below. The rest of the puzzles play in this fashion — we won't give any more away — subverting your expectations of seemingly mundane puzzles for humorously frustrating results.
Unfortunately, there's not much meat on this test's bones. Gameplay takes place entirely on the GamePad with touch controls, which is permissible for a puzzler like this, but there's virtually no animation whatsoever; IQ Test is essentially a collection of static images with public domain-quality background music. Considering the lack of graphical detail, there are curiously long load times between some of the puzzles that break the flow of play and take you out of the experience, sometimes leaving you unsure of whether you've actually completed the riddle or not. There's also no save function, which means if you fail a puzzle you'll have to start the entire game over; at first this is fun in an old-school sort of way, but it gets irritating very quickly.
Considering you can find plenty of puzzles like these on your computer and smart devices for free, IQ Test retails for a shockingly high price point. There's so much potential for this "questioning the nature of games" concept to rise to some sort of higher meta level in the vein of The Stanley Parable, but IQ Test is content to play short-lived tricks on you and your friends.
It's respectable to see a clever title developed for the eShop on a tiny budget by such a small development team, but IQ Test's gags quickly wear thin with a high price point for a shallow experience. You could have fun trolling your friends, and there's potential for something much greater with this release, but Ninja Pig's debut eShop offering doesn't quite satiate the brain – we'll stick with Dr. Kawashima for now.