Brain Assist is a bad title for a brain training game. For one thing, it's grammatically incorrect. For another, it's dull. Smart Thinks! Now, that's a fun title. But Brain Assist is no fun at all, and not just in name. To its credit, the game never claims to help you with grammar. Instead, it offers to enhance your "raight brain." You've probably never heard of this part of your body, but it evidently governs "artistic, intuition, strategic, and imagination." Apparently, through Brain Assist, your "raight" brain will become bigger, and you will get better at "artistics." And broken English.
To aid you in this endeavor, five nurses administer little tests that gauge and allegedly improve your mental faculties. By the way, the last people you want testing your cognitive skills are nurses, because it probably means you have a brain injury. These nurses won't even change your diaper or feed you mashed bananas. That's a shame because mashed bananas would be a big improvement over some of Brain Assist's minigames, including Match Game, Quick Numbers, and--brace yourself--Hexagonal Colors.
These aren't even real games, they're mental diagnostics. In Quick Numbers, for instance, you enter numbers on a keypad after they quickly flash by on the screen. At first, two numbers will fly by at 20 miles per hour (not very fast). Then, the speed will jump to 100, then 300 miles per hour, and then Mach 2. Then, the process will repeat with three numbers and then five numbers. What's crazy is that you can't really see three numbers at Mach 2 or keep track of five numbers at 300 mph yet, you still know the answer. That is downright interesting, though the credit goes more to your brain than the game. In Brain Assist, your gray matter is the assister, not the assist-ee.
Other challenges are less engaging, such as Spot the Difference. There are two pictures that are either identical or not, and you click "Same" or "Different" when you spot the difference--or don't. Eventually, the discrepancies become so minute that you either run out of time looking for them or guess wrong too many times and lose. It gets boring very quickly, but hey, at least Brain Assist comes with its own sedative.
Once you've run through all 10 minigames once or twice, you might feel confident enough to be evaluated. There are two tests, and each one is a battery of four games. You have to solve roughly 10 problems per game within a time limit, and the difficulty ramps up fast. Some of the games, by their very nature, can be completed quickly. Others, such as Hexagonal Colors (in which you have to draw a pattern from memory using a color palette, then hit "OK"), take more time. When we ran through these tests, we aced six of eight. The two we failed seemed so impossible given the time limit that we had no desire to attempt them again. It should only take a little over an hour for your brain to soak up everything this game has to offer.
There is single-card multiplay, single-system multiplay, and even four-player, four-card multiplay, but the only reason you would try any of these would be to impress your friends with your huge raight brain. There is no true multiplayer content here because nothing you do will affect your opponent's score, positively or negatively.
Brain Assist looks as sterile and plain as a hospital. The nurses aren't remotely sexy, and even though you can choose your own icon, there are no "befuddled child" or "mean, senile coot" faces from which to choose. Everyone looks normal and boring until you start unlocking the silly animal icons.
Though there are interesting moments in Brain Assist, they're courtesy of the magic of your own cognition, rather than anything in the game. It's also apparent that this game is intended for rehabilitation; if the nurses aren't a big enough clue, the guy on the cover with the head injury should make it all too clear. That's awesome, and hospitals or clinics shouldn't be dissuaded from buying Brain Assist for their patients. But if you're looking for a good time, this is not what the doctor ordered.