Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day!ESRB:
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Wireless DS Single-Card Download Play
So once again Nintendo utilizes its’ Touch Generation of DS games and releases a sequel to the original Brain Age game. As with the original, the belief still remains that by playing a Brain Age 2 a few minutes a day you will get your brain into better mental shape. So I am sure that many are wondering if this game is a worthy successor to the original, and after some time with the game I would have to say yes it is.
I always hate addressing this section of my reviews for a simple game like this. It is evident from the visuals that the graphic presentation is not the main focus, as the game is really all about presenting puzzles and mental challenges. Regardless the visuals are clean and simple and they manage to get the job done. Just don’t expect to be wowed with what you see. Bottom-line, Nintendo made sure that the visual presentation was not particularly horrible, and that it is sufficient for what the game is meant to be, a workout for ones brain.
The games sound is somewhat similar to the visuals, as it is not the most important thing in the game. That being said, the sounds that come out from the DS’s stereo speakers is very clear. There is spoken dialog for some of the various tests and it is very audible and easy to understand. There is some limited music (e.g. Piano Training) and it too sounds clear and precise. Finally there are some limited sound effects which correspond to your results and they, like the rest of the sound, are clear and easy to hear. As you can tell I am having some difficulty writing in this section of the review as there is not a lot to say about the sound. The best way to sum this audio area is that what is there is very well represented and it manages do the game justice.
For those who have not played the original, or just need a reminder, the game’s purpose is to keep your brain active by challenging you to complete mental exercises. The belief is that this in turn will cause various sections of your brain to become lively and better tuned, mentally speaking, resulting in a healthier brain. Having played the first Brain Age, and now the sequel, the main difference between the two is that the tests in Brain Age 2 seem have a better sense of creativity to them. As well this second chapter in the Brain Age series manages to improve some the voice recognition capabilities of the DS as well as the handwriting engine. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some quirks now and then, but overall these DS features seem to have been improved somewhat and make for a more enjoyable game.
There are 17 mental challenges this time around such as rock-paper-scissors, serial subtraction, symbol match, math recall, number memory, high number and Sudoku. Each of the tests has a specific challenge to them and all provide some great mental challenges on the go. I found that mathematical challenges really provided some consistency for me as I was able to be somewhat successful at them. On the flipside, the word blend challenge was the most difficult for me as having different voices speaking at the same time with different words proved to be quite a test. Having to discern each word that each voice was saying really put my listening skills to the test. Regardless of my experience there is no doubt that anyone who buys this game will find that they will be more successful at one type of challenge while having some difficultly with another type. In many ways that is the beauty of this game as it can really show different strengths and weaknesses for different people. I should also mention that Brain Age 2 also marks the return of 100 new Sudoku puzzles. Overall the challenges in this sequel will appeal to all gamers out there.
Nintendo was also smart to include a new addition to the Brain Age series: multiplayer competition. The back of the box says that 2-16 people can partake in single-card download play. I only had the chance to play against a couple of people so I do not really know if 16 people can actually play this game at once even though the back of the box and manual say so. Regardless, what multiplayer play I experienced was quite fun. There are versus matches in such things as picture drawing, word scramble, number memory and change maker. Battling for brain supremacy is quite enjoyable and I even managed to have a few great games against my wife, who happens to be a teacher and understands a lot of these challenges quite quickly. My hope is that in the third chapter to this series that even more games are made available for in the multiplayer mode.
At the end of the day, there is not a lot that can be said about Brain Age 2. The new challenges in this sequel are creative, addictive and pretty enjoyable and the addition of the multiplayer content is a great bonus. If you like to mental challenges then Brain Age 2 is definitely for you, and even if you don’ give this game a try as you may find yourself enjoying it more then you thought you would.