Not a exactly game, but totally addictive and stimulating like a good game...
I'm going to have a hard time writing this review as I don't want to use the word "game" to describe this...er...game, but I don't want to use exercise or test either...which is exactly what Brain Age is comprised of...but don't let those words turn you off either. Brain Age is undoubtedly fun and compelling.
In terms of things on the cart: First off, there's Quick Play, Daily Training, and Sudoku, and Download. I'm not sure what Download is as I haven't played it, but it seems to be some WiFi competition of the calculations exercise from what I can tell. Sudoku is Sudoku. Quick Play involves doing the Daily Training exercises without a program or graphing or charting your progress. As for the Sudoku on the cart, hey, it's Sudoku. You can get them in USA Today or NY Times or AM News or nearly any other newspaper nowadays and that doesn't make the Brain Age cart wholly appealing. The things that are engaging are the Brain Age check and the daily training. Brain Age check uses the exercises from the daily training to calculate your Brain Age. The ideal Brain Age is 20 and with relative ease of most of the exercises it seems an easy target. But it's not. The exercises are deceptively complet in their simplicity. There's simple math facts x20 and x100, there's Reading Aloud, which are all self-explanatory, but exericises like Word Memory, Head Count, Syllable Count, Number Crunchers test your thinking and your noggin in unique and entertaining ways. I'm not going to talk about all of them as discovery of the exercise is part of the game's appeal and fun, but I'll speak about Head Count as way of example.
Head Count is simple. You see some people, a house falls on them, covering them so that you can't see them. Some people go, some people stay, more people come along. As these changes keep happening you have to keep tabs on who comes and who goes from the house. It seems simple, but is challenging and fun. Remember once the house falls, you can't see the people and the number in the house at first is nearly never the number in the house by the end of the run. It's addictive and it gets you thinking. That should be the motto of Brain Age. It's fun, thoughtful, and game-like to the extent at which you feel like you're gaming. Heck, it's supposed to be good for you too...but who knows.
Besides the fact that you have to listen/read the explantion of how each exercise is played everytime you play one (they're short and I'm sure it was done because there needed to be some loading time), I have only one real complaint about this cart. My chief complaint is that there is no way to probe or test the good doctor's advice. For instance, when you Brain Train to test your age, your Brain Age is recorded but the time of day at which you tested your Brain Age isn't. The Doc contends that your brain is more active in the morning. I've scored way lower in the morning then I do at night or even in the middle of the day. Being able to test the doc's advice would make these exercises even more engaging. (There is a graph that maps your daily progress, but nothing you can write notes on or see what time of day you tested at)
All in all, if you're not a fan of videogames this game may get you hooked on playing something videogame-like. If you're a casual or hardcore gamer there's enough competitive spirit and imbedded puzzle gameplay here to keep you satisfied and happy... who knows you may even get smarter in process...although that belief requires a great deal of faith and practice...and much more than Brain Age and a DS.