- Page 1 Dr Reiner Knizia’s Brain Benders
- Page 2 Dr Reiner Knizia’s Brain Benders
- Page 3 Dr Reiner Knizia’s Brain Benders
And where the puzzles do strike off for new territories, the results aren’t always 100 per cent successful. Rio, where you need to load up carnival floats with dancers is a case in point. The puzzle comes, as they all do, with a tutorial, but it’s fairly bewildering until you get a bit of practice and begin to see the point. Other puzzles, like selecting fuses to rebuild an Enigma machine in Berlin, are arguably equal parts dependent on luck and strategy – it’s possible to get the puzzle half right fairly quickly then work the rest out from there.
Now, there’s very little wrong with the basic gameplay. The various mini-games are mostly entertaining and one or two are guaranteed to get under your skin. Your efforts are scored, with different levels achieving different medals, and there’s always a temptation to stick at each game until you hit gold. What’s more, there are good reasons for doing so. Medals are accompanied by cash prizes, and you’ll need that money to unlock new cities and new levels of the individual puzzles. You’ll find yourself working at the puzzles you’re good at just to get enough coins to unlock Rio, then struggling with the ones you’re not so good at just so you can keep working up the levels.
The presentation is also pretty good. Nobody expects great visuals from a puzzle game, and you won’t get them here, but you do get some colourful backgrounds and the animated host. Opinions differ in the Andrews household as to whether he’s a friendly face or a little bit creepy – though I’m sure the real life Dr Knizia is a wonderful guy – but the sight of him running around the Maze at Knossos or chilling out while you count fish near Cape Town adds a little to the overall charm. The music and sound effects are appropriately jaunty, and my only real technical complaint is that there are times when clicks on the touchscreen don’t register as accurately as you might like. In Mumbai, for example, it’s not unknown to fluff the mini-game simply because you can’t get all your clicks to be counted. In Vegas, meanwhile, you’ll find cards being dropped in unintended positions due to the vagaries of the stylus control.