There's an entire industry for games and apps that will improve your intelligence. But can a puzzle-solving game work the same kind of "train your brain" magic as those other games? That's certainly a question that comes to mind when playing a cerebral, first-person adventure like The Talos Principle.
Problem-solving is the root of Talos' gameplay. From the very start, as your character awakens into mysterious, and mostly empty ruins, you're given a number of puzzles to complete. Much like real-life teachers, the game drops a few items in front of you, saying that you have to combine them all to find your way out. Simple logic and physics are put to the test from the outset, and your brain isn't definitely working when you memorize the early rules for the first few items.
Of course, the real test to your intelligence comes when the rules and items compound on top of themselves. When you get conflicting items that need to be used in a certain sequence, you have to become a bit of a scientific theorist. You combine and separate items to find different results, and just like with a scientific theorem, mistakes can be costly. At least in Talos you can easily reload to a puzzle's start to try and find different results with the items on hand.
Then again, The Talos Principle's real mental test might be operating underneath all the puzzle solving and quick thinking. As you progress through the world you'll find increasingly heavy proof that the world isn't all that it seems. You'll find hints to a world outside the game, and a truth beyond finding the next exit.
By the end, as you're flipping switches and sneaking past sentries, you'll be thinking long and hard on existential topics. What is existence? What defines consciousness and humanity? You'll be thinking of your own life on a level you might not have experienced since you read Camus or Sartre during your college years. (Or was that just us?)
Ultimately, The Talos Principle might indeed exercise your brain, leaving you smarter than when you began. However, its philosophy and questioning of the human condition might be what sticks in your head the longest. Test your smarts for yourself on The Talos Principle now available for the SHIELD Android TV.