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PQ2: Practical Intelligent Quotient 2
Score: 70%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: D3
Developer: NOW Productions
Media: UMD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:
In an industry where titles like Brain Age have become household names, it's no wonder that other intelligent-testing games like PQ have also come out with a sequel in hopes of ratifying a few of the issues that made the first game hard to approach.

PQ2: Practical Intelligent Quotient 2 makes a few changes to its structure, but one thing that doesn't seem to change is its unique visual style. Like the previous game, levels are simple floating islands made up of flat-textured blocks. Your character is an iPod-esque silhouette (now in either male or female versions) while the different types of blocks you need to manipulate in order to get to your goal are also simply-designed and, as Geck0 put it in the review of the previous game, iconic.

Sound does the job. The background music isn't distracting and it stays behind-the-scenes, letting you focus more on the task ahead and helping to drown out any ambient noises that might distract you. Other than that, there isn't much to this game's audio.

PQ2: Practical Intelligent Quotient 2 has a few different ways to play the game, but the core gameplay is still the same.

You have a fairly strict set of rules and goals. You need to get your character from the start position to the white column of light. You can move any direction that is either on the same level as you, or one level higher or lower. You can walk up to certain blocks and pick them up, or you can push and pull other blocks around. There are blocks that react to switches and there are blocks that break when you put something on top of them or drop them from an area that is too high.

Above these rules, there are also two other types of characters: Police Officers and Detectives. If you are spotted by either of these characters, the level is reset and you have to start over (mind you, the clock doesn't reset). Police Officers have a flashlight that covers parts of the board, and if you step on a square that has his light on it, you're spotted. Detectives wander around until they come across your footprints (which trail you about five or six blocks back). Once they have your scent, it is very hard to shake them off.

There are quite a few more details that I can't really get into here, like laser or weight switches, but in the end, it's all in place to test your PQ, your Practical Intelligent Quotient. This score is meant to replace the standard IQ that we have been using for years. The argument is that while the IQ does seem to test your intelligence potential, it doesn't do a lot of good in testing how you will deal with the real world and practical problems. Since PQ2 poses puzzles in a 3D world with very set rules, it can better understand how you think and how quickly you process and understand the world.

Like the previous title, there are 100 puzzles that have varying degrees of difficulty. You can take the long test that throws you through all of the puzzles and get your score, or you can take the shorter, 10-puzzle daily tests that give you puzzles from the overall pool in a random order. And, if you are interested, you can post your information to a server through the game in order to see how you rank up.

Unfortunately, the game still isn't all that fun. I found myself attempting the daily tests, but I rarely felt as excited about them by the eighth or ninth puzzle as I did in the first and second. Consequently, there were more times that I just stopped playing the game than I care to admit.

Ah, now here is an interesting subject for PQ2: Practical Intelligent Quotient 2, difficulty. With 100 tests to try out, you are bound to find some that you feel are easy, while others that are just plane torture. In the end though, this game is a test in logical, spacial relationships and manipulation of the board. How well you do in a given level depends on how well you understand the board and what needs to go where. This is very much a thinking-man's game and, while other titles like Brain Age have enough variety in them to make it interesting for anyone, only a person seeking a real challenge should look into PQ2.

Game Mechanics:
PQ2: Practical Intelligent Quotient 2's controls don't look like they've changed all that much since the previous title. You use the analog stick or shoulder buttons to rotate the camera, while the D-pad moves your character around and the (X) button lets you interact with objects (typically picking them up or putting them down).

(Triangle) pauses the game and the (START) puts you in "Cursor Map View" where you can move around the board in-game to get an idea of what you need to do (no, the time doesn't stop). Though I couldn't quite figure out the reason behind moving the standard pause option away from the (START) button, maybe the developers didn't want people to get mad at them for accidentally going into cursor mode just because they tapped a face button?

PQ2 is an interesting title that is worth looking into only if you are a fan of the intelligent-testing genre that seems to be sprouting up. If you enjoyed the first game, then the new puzzles and aspects of this title will be appealing. If the only thing you found bad about the previous one is the long, drawn-out testing in order to get a score, then the quick 10-puzzle tests might be just what you are looking for.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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