Far from simply being seen as purveyors of mindless action, games have of late become mental self-improvement tools. Nintendo's success with Dr Kawashima's Brain Training and More Brain Training (Brain Age and Brain Age 2 in the US) has led to a growing trend among publishers to seek out new markets with brain-busting puzzle games, particularly on the Nintendo DS. From 505 Games' Left or Right to Ubisoft's Word Coach series, the race to be the next Brain Training is fiercely contested.
Eidos has now entered into the fray with the announcement of Dr Reiner Knizia's Brainbenders for the Nintendo DS. Dr Knizia has a PhD in Mathematics, but moved on from teaching and consultancy to full-time game design, a career change that has resulted in hundreds of puzzle games and books. Lou Fawcett, Eidos' head of casual games, told GameSpot, "The casual games market is getting very interesting, we've seen the success Nintendo has had over Christmas and we believe this is just the beginning."
Brainbenders, according to Eidos, will take the player to "iconic global cities" where there are Knizia-designed puzzles to solve. These include organising dancers at the Carnival in Rio, and assembling Aztec stone tablets in order to reveal their secret. Fawcett said, "Brainbenders has been designed by one of the world's leading game designers so above all else the game is about addictive fun."
The game is being developed by Razorback Developments, the creators of Xiaolin Showdown for the DS. No indication of a release date for the game has yet been given.