Monday, September 10, 2007

Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: Aug. 20, 2007
Systems: Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: Help Your Head! Increase Your Intellect! Grow Your Grey Matter! Multiply Your Medulla Oblongata!

"If you don't use your brain, it might start to weaken by age 20." So I've been getting dumber for five years? "Don't worry," though, regular training can help keep it strong. Whew!
0:03 I like that the game asks if I'm able to talk. I hate games the force you to blow or speak into the microphone on a crowded bus, like I'm on now.
0:04 The game confuses a zero I write for a one. How does that happen? Zero is a circle... one is a line! I know my handwriting is atrocious, but sheesh!
0:05 My initial Brain Age is 26, just one year off my real age. I'm happy until virtual Dr. Kawashima says I'm a "little out of shape." Pffft!
0:08 The new math game requires you to fill in the sign instead of the numbers. It can get kind of tricky, especially when comparing 9 / 9 to 9 - 9, for instance. The game occasionally thinks my plus signs are multiplication signs. Annoying!
0:10 After playing one whole training game I unlock "Memory Sprint." Not to nitpick, but I feel like this is the kind of game where everything should be unlocked initially. If the gameplay is interesting, I'll play every day anyway. If it isn't, I won't play just to unlock potentially interesting locked games.
0:11 The piano-playing game is pretty fun, once I get the hang of tapping on the extremely thin black keys. One annoyance: there are two "C" notes on the keyboard, but it only accepts a specific one for each note. They should be interchangeable.
0:14 Dr. Kawashima tells me he doesn't like cilantro, and he'll make a face if I say it twice on the menu screen. "Don't say it please," he pleads. Uh, why are you telling me this if you don't want me to say it? Plot hole!
0:17 Wow do I suck at unscrambling simple words. Part of it is that I'm just stupid, but part of it is the crappy text recognition. Forcing me to write slowly and carefully isn't conducive to speedy completion. Why can't I tap the letters instead?
0:20 Memory Sprint should be called "speed counting." You just have to count as people pass by your runner on each side. It gets moderately hard by the end, when you have to add and subtract twos and threes at blazing speed.
0:22 Barely 1/3rd of an hour in and there's already nothing more to do that's unlocked. I guess that's why they say "minutes a day" in the title, but still, I'm left wanting more variety from the get-go.
0:23 Text recognition mistakes in the last five minutes: 4 mistaken for 1; 1 mistaken for 9; = mistaken for ?, = mistaken for !
0:25 Hmm, I can play new games in the Brain Age Check, but only when they come up randomly. Weird. Anyway, the highest number picker is pretty easy as long as you're a little deliberate about it. Does knowing that 18 is higher than 17 really show that my brain is healthy?
0:32 Math Memory is surprisingly tough, and made tougher by the bad text recognition. It's hard to keep three numbers in my head when I have to write one over and over to get the game to recognize it. Why isn't there a keypad option for this game?
0:48 OMG! After playing the brain age check for 16 more minutes, I stumble across a new game. Memorizing a list of 25 numbers is surprisingly tough. Or maybe I just suck at memorizing. No... that can't be it.
0:51 I finally get in the zone during a symbol-writing minigame. I've adjusted how I write certain symbols to fit the shoddy text recognition. Shouldn't the game adjust to me instead?
1:00 My brain ages after the initial 26: 35, 35, 30, 42, 28, 31, 28. Guess I should have quit while I was ahead. At least the grouping is pretty consistent.

Would I play this game for more than an hour?
Why? I'm deathly afraid of becoming stupider as I age.

This review based on a retail copy provided by Nintendo.


Kiki said...

More stupid.
Guess you should keep up the Brain Training ;)

Anonymous said...

HAHAHahaha, the C's should be interchangable? It doesn't work that way, you know. There's a reason there are more keys on the keyboard.

Zachary said...

"One annoyance: there are two "C" notes on the keyboard, but it only accepts a specific one for each note. They should be interchangeable."

Um... what? Are you serious?

Kyle said...

Yes people, I am serious. The game asks you to play a "C" but it doesn't tell you if it means high C or low C. If you pick the wrong one, it treats it as wrong. It should either indicate which C or treat them as interchangeable, since they are the same note at different octaves, sheesh.

And stupider is a word:

Lauren said...

See that little staff on the left screen? That's where it tells you if it means a high C or a low C. Honestly, it's not that difficult to figure out.

Kyle said...

I am fully willing to admit that I'm an idiot and should have noticed the position on the staff, but I didn't, and I'm sure some other players won't either.

The funny thing is, I played Clarinet for five years in grade school. I should have figured this out.