Review by ElDudorino
"Blue. Blue. Blue. Blue. BLUE. BLUE. BLUE. BLUE!!!!!! ... blue? Screw this game."
This isn't the worst game ever created. Probably. It's just the worst game I've ever played. At the start, a polygonal Japanese head lectures the player for 5 minutes on the differences between a brain watching television and a brain solving math problems. It then requires that you spend another 5 minutes talking to the screen and identifying colors. Unfortunately, it's almost completely unable to recognize the word "blue." In fact, when my girlfriend tried playing this game, she had to have ME shout out "blue" for her every time she was required to say it, because she didn't have the proper bluing finesse the game was looking for. Yes, she speaks English as a first language, and she speaks it quite clearly. And since this is the US version of the game, I doubt a foreign accent is required. Anyway, the game then went on to insult her for apparently being unable to pronounce the word "blue" (her brief temper tantrum mid-test where she shouted JUST LET ME PLAY SUDOKU ten times didn't help her score either). Next she was quizzed for another couple of minutes on basic arithmetic, presumably to increase blood flow to the brain. "2x4? 8! 3x7? 21!" Then she quit the game and was delighted to find that she was finally allowed to select Sudoku from the menu, but first the game demanded that she draw a koala. Seriously, it said "Here's what I want you to draw: Koala." Then it asked her to draw a kangaroo. This is all just so she could unlock Sudoku which is why she picked up the game to begin with. Then she was belittled because her kangaroo was facing sideways instead of forward, and her koala's ears were too small. Finally, she was allowed to play Sudoku, but at what cost?
The thing about this game is that it really is intended to be a daily brain exercise. You're supposed to load this game up every day and play it so that your brain will be active. It actually has a calendar and gives you a stamp every time you complete your daily exercises, with the expectation that you'll try to get a stamp for each day of the month. Frankly, I don't need a video game to force me to use my brain. Do you? I feel insulted, personally. I thought they would try to make it fun, but it just seems like a series of math problems and insane assignments which often can't differentiate between the correct or incorrect answers anyway. Speaking of which, if you do play this game, be careful when drawing those sevens. The game kept thinking my sevens were ones because the tops weren't level enough on them. What can I say? I'm a lazy scribbler.
The game features a variety of different exercises, but they're all essentially simulations of, depending on your situation: a) doing your homework, b) doing your younger sibling's homework for money, or c) doing your child's homework for them out of pity or because you really don't want to see them fail the second grade again. I mostly see this product as a substitute for parenting - a tool which lazy parents can use to force their equally lazy children to use their brains for a few minutes per day. Frankly, unless you think you fit that description, I don't think that you should waste your money or time with this game. I also don't think that it will do much for your child's self-esteem, since the game takes off points for its own mistakes (such as its inability to understand the word BLUE) and then goes on to tell the player how inadequate they are in comparison to an "ideal" brain. And if you don't actually have children? If you're like me, just an average guy (or girl) looking for a different sort of game every once in a while? Pick something else up, unless you really just don't like yourself. I find Big Brain Academy to be far more entertaining than Brain Age, although it loses its charm fairly rapidly. Maybe these "brain games" are just a good idea which fails to materialize in the form of good gaming. Either way, if you do think you want one, I suggest trying the others before Brain Age, which strikes me as an utter catastrophe in terms of entertainment and will only leave you with low self-esteem and nightmares of crazy, disembodied, polygonal heads.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 03/06/07
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