Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day Hands-On

Professor Kawashima's research fuels another assault on our poor grey matter.

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Just when you thought it was safe to slack on your brain training, Nintendo showed off a new installment in the popular Brain Age series. Dubbed Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day, the sequel continues to offer mental challenges designed to keep your mind fit. A demo and some hands-on time with a work-in-progress version of the game at Nintendo's Summer Preview Event hooked us good on the fun title.

As before, the game will feature a basic structure. The disembodied head of the good professor will offer praise, pointers, and random bits of wisdom as you play the game. You'll simply create a profile, take a test to determine your "brain age," and then dive in. The game will feature the same array of modes as its predecessor--quickplay, daily training, sudoku, and the option to download a demo to a friend wirelessly. Quickplay lets you casually try the various training games you've opened up. Daily training is where you'll go to play and open up training games. Finally, sudoku is just that, the math game with a huge following that's still a total mystery to us. Hardcore fans will be pleased to hear the sudoku in Brain Age 2 offers 100 new puzzles.

While the game is structured the same way as its predecessor, you can look forward to a new array of training games. Our demo of the game showed off several that were both cool and anxiety inducing (math and timed pressure are a recipe for disaster). The piano player game requires you to follow along to music displayed on the left side of the screen by tapping keys on the right side of the screen. Sign finder is a new form of mental-math cruelty that shows you the numbers in a math problem and then requires you to fill in the signs to make it work out. Word scramble shows you letters rotating in a circle on the left screen and challenges you to figure out what it is and spell it on the touch screen.

Memory sprint requires you to keep track of a runner's place as he works his way through a race. Word blend relies on the Nintendo DS's audio prowess by playing a sound sample of a spoken word. You'll simply have to spell it on the touch screen. Easy, right? Unfortunately, as things pick up, you'll have to deal with multiple words being said at the same time. Math recall is another math-tastic game that forces you to solve math problems. While this is likely bad enough for many, the game takes it up a notch and obscures a number in the equation and drags it down into each subsequent problem. Finally, a rock-paper-scissors game, which seems harmless enough, forces you to think as it challenges you to follow its orders to win or lose the match. The games are fun, in a masochistic way, and benefit from improved voice and handwriting recognition, which have been enhanced over the original game.

In addition to all the mind-imploding training games, Brain Age 2 includes a bit of a respite from the mental gymnastics and offers a non-training game called virus buster, which is essentially Dr. Mario sans the good mustachioed doctor but with touch-screen controls. As with the original game, Brain Age 2 isn't about pushing the DS's limits when it comes to graphics. All the games are represented simply and move along at a good pace. The audio in the game is a bit beefier, with cleaner sound effects.

Based on what we played, Brain Age 2 should be a great follow-up to the original game. The training games are challenging but still fun, in an oddly educational way. The addition of virus buster is a welcome bit of mental decompression that should come in handy when your head comes close to exploding from all the math exposure. Toss in an expanded multiplayer mode that lets you play up to four games with a group of friends locally, and you have a slick little DS title that's both fun and good for you. Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day is slated to ship this summer for the DS. Look for more on the game in the coming weeks.

Discussion

25 comments
Nitro720
Nitro720

Shoot. I still didn't finish the first one.

HXCDEW
HXCDEW

Yay! Next game, Brain Training: Mario Edition!

isha727
isha727

i really enjoyed the first game, but after a while it was kinda boring, repeating all those activity over and over. not worth spendin' your dough

couchpotatotwin
couchpotatotwin

Oh, no! I really have been slacking off on my Brain Age training, and to hear that there's gonna be a Brain Age 2 scares me. I'm biting my nails in anticipation for this game.

1yodsyo1
1yodsyo1

Well, my parents are going to get it.... Might as well get a brain age of 60. 4 times my age. Is it going to be $20?

Lonnie2Hottie
Lonnie2Hottie

i gave the first one a try....for like 6 days, then i thought to myself....why am i doing elementry math on my ds?? i think i'll go back to playing games. i'll never play one of these so called educational games again. so lame.

GreenXMega
GreenXMega

I have to wait THAT long for this? That's when my next school year will start! Well, if it takes them time to make a quality game, then let's hope this does turn out to be a quality game. By the way, the activities in the new Brain Age seem harder than the first one, so the new ones should be a treat for my brain. Heck, even the "what's the time" minigame is harder than the original! The addition of virus buster is pretty interesting even if you have to "do your homework" to unlock it for the day. Overall, this new game is a slight improvement from the original and should be longer lasting than the original.

shaakti123
shaakti123

Well all the Brain games are a lot more fun than they sound so go and shove your GTA

Wurz1515
Wurz1515

Personally, I don't really like to learn while I'm trying to have fun playing a game. I'll take GTA over this any day

Somini
Somini

I prefer Big Brain Academy over Brain Age, but nonetheless, I'll get this game for sure, I love brain-training.

1357900
1357900

More Math! Aaaaaaaaaa........ Done yet? Not yet! Curse you math!...........Ok, I'm done! LOL!

EmptySki
EmptySki

the first game was actually awesome, so this one should be something i will get.

mr_gouda
mr_gouda

I just hope this one has more training games than the last. I just wish they'd go beyond the "solve questions very quickly" approach, and do something really mentally challenging like, logic problems, I'd even settle with simple riddles. I know, wishful thinking, I think I'm getting too nerdy here.

videog_man
videog_man

No doubt about it. I'm totally getting this one. but I should probably finish one year of my original first. You know just so I don't dissapoint the doctor.

SaxxyGamer18
SaxxyGamer18

I liked Brain Age. Really, it seemed like it did help me think more clearly, and I wasn't as afraid of timed math quizzes at least. Hope this one is at least worth getting.

packernation31
packernation31

looks too much of the same thing for any interest

John-lewiis
John-lewiis

I'll stick with my old version, where is my old version anyway?

Mr_Doodle
Mr_Doodle

I'll still have to think about getting this game. I liked the first one, but I'm still thinking about the second.

SM42
SM42

Good, I've been waiting for a sequel to this game. I really enjoyed the first.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Fantastic. I love the original and will be sure to pick this up. The original really helped me to gain a high pass mark in my adult maths exam so I can vouch for the the series' effectiveness.