Review by dougmoto

Reviewed: 07/25/06

"I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix."

quote- Sherlock Holmes, Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Before, it seemed as if education and video games were like oil and water. Even when big companies like Nintendo tried to make learning fun, disasters like Mario’s Time Machine and Mario is Missing were produced (I own both). However, after more than a decade after those blasphemous unmentionable SNES games, Nintendo has finally got it right. Brain Age is the game that was never meant to be.


Gameplay: 9

What is there to say? Most of the controls are easily executed with the touch screen. Most consist simply of tapping or writing a number. It’s easy to pick up, and it even has a feature to help the left handed players. However, it’s not exactly perfect. I’m quite the sloppy writing, and many times it’s mistaken my 8s for 6s and my “b”s for “o”s. It’s just a minor nuisance, and surprisingly, after about a week of playing, I subconsciously adjusted my numbers to make them more readable. The challenges are mostly easy, but fairly long. Calculations x100 does a real number on your concentration. Then of course, games like Word Memory have you straining your memory banks, trying to remember what that last word was. However, it’s not so difficult that little kids can’t play it, or too easy for adults. My younger sister plays it with no problems, as does my mother.
Included in the American version is the craze known as Sudoku. Attracting everyone from children to grandparents, Sudoku is actually quite easy to play on the DS. With over 100 puzzles, it should keep you busy for a while.


Graphics: 6

There’s nothing really graphically appealing about this game at all, unless you like Talking Heads. Even that looks jagged and rough. But if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. I doubt this game would have been any better had it had any animations


Sounds: 6

Another useless category for this type of game. There isn’t much to talk about here either, and that’s probably a good thing. Having sounds in the background would distract you and make your brain age go up!


Multiplayer/Replay ability: 10

The only multiplayer is a 30 question calculation battle. It’s alright if your friends are up for it, but from experience, not many people want to play a math game. The real value of this game comes from the replay ability. It’s addicting, really, trying to working your brain age down to 20, or in my case, maintaining it. Even more interesting is that the game keeps track of your progress and makes you a nifty little graph, which you can compare against the other users on your cart. This adds for a bit of competition. Suffice to say, you’ll be playing this game out of habit, for a long time.


Overall (not an average):9

I can’t believe this game actually worked. The laws of gaming said it should not, but here I am, giving it a 9. I’m honestly addicted to this game. Maybe it’s because I’m an egomaniac and I love gloating to my siblings and parents about my constant 20 year old brain age. Maybe it’s because secretly I’m scared my sisters will overtake me as the brains of the family. Or maybe it’s just because Nintendo has somehow succeeded to boring, and turn it into something genuinely fun.

-Dougmoto (My brain hurts)

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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