Board Game Review: Cortex Challenge

Everything feels better when you’re showing your friends that you’re cleverer than they are. Also, nothing feels worse than your friends proving you’re not quite as bright as they are. If you want a game which tries to prove the argument one way or the other, you’ll be wanting to take a look at Cortex Challenge, a game which is fast and fun, while being a little light on longevity.

The idea of Cortex Challenge is to collect an entire brain by winning various challenges. These challenges are presented on a deck of 90 cards, and are split between various categories. Some cards have you racing against other players to work out which route to take through a maze, some get you remembering the contents of the card or working out which image appears more than any others. There are 7 different types of main task in total, with some touch-based challenges adding to the fun by asking you to recognise the texture on one of the ten specially textured cards, and the round is won by a player covering the card first and completing the challenge or stating the correct answer. The main mechanics of the game are no more complicated than that – it’s the cards itself which offer the difficult challenges.

Winning a challenge rewards you with that card, although you can only hold 4 cards at once. Once you have two of the same challenge (so two maze cards, or two frequency cards for example) you can cash them in for a chunk of brain. Once you’ve collected all four corners of your brain before anyone else you’re the winner. Simple rules, no learning necessary, and leaves all of the thinking to the various brain-melting games.

And it’s fun. Games take around half an hour, maybe less if people win the cards quite quickly, and it certainly builds up some excitement when someone is quite close to winning and everyone else is out to stop them. We did find, however, that we couldn’t really finish more than a couple of games at once. Whether this is because there’s a lot of thinking involved, or whether it’s because it gets a little on the samey side quite quickly I’m not sure, but this isn’t a game we filled any evenings with. Even on a long gaming night we found ourselves more likely to go back to some slightly longer running games instead of coming back for more Cortex games.

So do we recommend Cortex Challenge? Tough to say. For the odd evening it’ll kill an hour and give you some good laughs in the process, but it might not live long in the memory of great games in your collection. That said, it’s only £13 so you’re buying this for less than it’d cost a couple of you to go to the cinema for two hours, and when you compare it to that it’s maybe not such a bad deal after all. If you like a competitive edge to your games, and think your gaming friends would welcome the chance to prove themselves against the brains of everyone else then this will hit the nail on the head. Otherwise it might be worth putting the money towards something a bit more long lasting.

Cortex Challenge
Available Now, RRP £12.99
Find your local stockist here


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