This game was designed to appeal to all audiences, and that was successfully achieved.
TommyD100 wrote this review on .
The origin of Brain Age comes from a book written by a Japanese neuroscientist, Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, which talks about keeping your brain young and in shape. Brain Age is basically a set of small tests or exercises that are designed to work your prefrontal cortex. Brain Age really throws this word around a lot while you play, as the design for this game was to stimulate that part of the brain.
You start by creating a profile and jumping into some exercises. Once you complete them, the software will calculate your brain age based on how well you performed, with twenty years old being the best score. After that, you are told to begin your training and get your brain younger.
When you first start off, you will only have three exercises to train in. Once you complete any training exercise, you get a stamp marked onto the in game calendar. More exercises are unlocked as you add more stamps onto your calendar. Brain Age only records your first successful play through of each exercise. If you wish to play through any exercise again, it will not record your results. The results are significant because they are plotted onto a graph and you get to see how well you are progressing for each exercise. You can also check your brain age once a day as well, and watch as you slowly make it towards twenty year old.
Now I want to talk about the exercises, or minigames as some people would like to call them. Almost all of them are timed games, in which you will have to think quickly and solve problems or answer questions. There are exercises that include doing simple math, reading a passage from famous literary works, counting syllables in a sentence, answering simple questions based on what you see, telling the time difference between two clocks, and a few more. You have to hold the DS on its side, as if it were a booklet. The questions appear on the left side and you write on the right side. All the input is either done with the touch screen or microphone - absolutely no buttons are required to play, or use, this software. This pretty much sums up how you use this software.
Since you have to write numbers and letters to get through these exercises, it is important to not how well the software reads handwriting. For the most part, it does a good job of understanding my handwriting. If it ever did have a hard time, it would be whenever I had to write a five. I do not know if I write it wrong, but it does not like my fives. As for the microphone, I can understand if it messes up fives and nines because they sound the same if they are not properly articulated. Nevertheless, Brain Age will not always screw up the input, but there it is definitely not perfect.
Another important thing to note on Brain Age is that it includes one hundred Sudoku puzzles. Sudoku is a popular newspaper puzzle game that requires some keen thinking, especially on the tougher puzzles. I never played Sudoku before this, but I have come away impressed. It can be quite fun, but think I enjoyed it much more on the DS because inputting the numbers is cleaner than a newspaper. You can write small numbers within each box to remind yourself of what numbers can possibly go inside that box, and you can imagine erasing takes nothing at all. If you are going to play Sudoku anywhere, it is going to be on the Nintendo DS, and it was very important to add this into Brain Age because once you complete the exercises for the day, there is absolutely nothing left to do in the game until the next day.
I have spent a complete month with Brain Age. I turned it on every day, completed the exercises, got enough stamps to unlock everything the software has to offer, and even completed about fifty Sudoku puzzles. Other people I have spoken to talk about how hard it is to get to twenty years old. My first score resulted in my brain age as forty five years old, and by the end of the week, I hit twenty. Even after that, I never went higher than thirty, and in my last week, I was on a streak of four straight days of twenty years old.
Occasionally, you will be asked random questions like what did you eat for breakfast and they will be asked again a few days later to remind you of how forgetful you can be. It will also ask you to draw pictures of random things using the stylus just to stimulate the brain. None of that gets graded, it is just that when you have more than one profile going on at the same time, you can compare each other's work and compare each other's graphs. Having multiple profiles can make it somewhat more interesting, but I just think this all wears off after about a good month. The good part about it is I can stop playing and pick it up at a later date and the same graphs will still be used with one long line going from my last result to my most recent.
I do not know if Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day actually makes your brain younger. It seems kind of ridiculous to me, and there have been some conflicting reports since the game's launch that still give no real answer as to whether or not this software really works. Personally, I have not found my thinking to be any better since I started one month ago. I all know is that I can do simple math quicker than I used to.
The fact of the matter is that this game was designed to appeal to all audiences, and that was successfully achieved as many non gamers have gotten into it in Japan. There was actually a lengthy time period where you could not find a DS in Japan because they were all sold out. As for me, I was addicted to this software during the first week. After that, it began to wear thin on me. The twenty dollar price tag and Sudoku saves this game from getting a bad rating. It is cheap enough where you should definitely check it out, but I do not think any hardcore gamers will find any value here.