How much time do you spend in each single session when you play games?

Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! (Nintendo DS)

Everyone
ESRB Rating
Genre
Theme
78
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.3
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Pixelspeech (955)
Written on  :  Aug 05, 2011
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Summary

A good exercise that tries its best to look like an actual game

The Good

You can't help but appreciate the amount of effort and science that has gone into making this game that allows you to train your brain and keep it young. Staying healthy is very important and I doubt anybody would deny that aside from maybe Ronald MacDonald, but few games actually help you with this (they often cause the opposite). Brain Training, as the doctor himself explains it, is a tool that stimulates your brain activity and helps you receive your daily amount of exercise.

I admit that this stuff works, I brought it along with me when I went to England for eleven days and when I started out it always took like a minute to finish twenty simple math questions, but nearing the end of my holiday that would be decreased to just a little more than twenty seconds (meaning I did one question per second), I was a quick learner apparently and keeping up with my progress through high-scores and statistics gave me some good laughs.

The more you play this game the more exercises and secrets you unlock, most of the time this happens when you reach a certain milestone such as; playing the game for x amount of days or doing this challenge x amount of times. This way you unlock more and more ways to keep the game fresh for a bit longer and you can also bring more variation into you daily training (the doctor recommends variation because doing the same thing over and over again doesn't stimulate the brain).

The Sudoku is a nice extra in this game that actually makes a bit of sense, rather than been just some filler to justify the the money you have to pay for this game (which it seemed to be at first glance). It's a very functional adaption of the popular trend from Japan and you can choose more than a dozen puzzles with varying levels of difficulty. I actually think this was the only thing I ever used the game for before I brought it along to England.

The Bad

The game recognizes numbers very poorly, of course it was an early title and it still had to get used to the touch screen, but I think everybody can agree that it's not easy to write on the Nintendo DS. In a game where every second counts towards your score and progress, there is nothing more frustrating than spending five seconds on the same straight-forward question because the game keeps thinking your 6 is a 1 and the other way around. Other troublesome numbers are 8 & 0 and 3 & 5. It's also a bit of a letdown that every training is based around numbers and none around text, although the DSi version of this game does have text-recognition and challenges that use it. Oh and on more thing: The writing doesn't get any easier when you have to do it while sitting in a bus or car, like I had to do pretty much all the time...

The game eventually ends up with less than ten different challenges for training and it starts getting repetitive in maybe a month or so. If you truly go for it, it might become a daily habit, but I know I won't play it anymore now that I am back from abroad and got full access to six different systems again.You eventually finish up all the Sudoku puzzles and maybe you want to keep going for that perfect brain age of twenty years old, but that is just pushing it to the max.

The Bottom Line

Brain Training is a pretty enjoyable game, but the fact that it's a tool becomes obvious pretty soon because it doesn't do that well as an actual game. There is a very limited amount of content and there is a big problem with the main gameplay, but that doesn't mean it should be ignored completely. I actually recommend this game to all people simply because it is used to train your brain on a daily basis which is a good way to spend some of your time each day.