Intro: what’s More Brain Training?
More Brain Training is nothing more than the sequel to Brain Training, one of the best seller games for Nintendo DS. These two games are inspired to Doct. Kawashima’s theory, according to which it’s possible to keep you brain trained, by keeping it young and active, by making some little and simple daily exercises. Both series’ games have the same structure: several exercises are introduced, to be made, possibly, every day, and at the end of which, you’ll likely to try the brain age test, which is needed to verify that there’ve been improvements in your own brain’s training. This “brain age” is the only basic measuring system adopted in the whole game, and you need it to realize your own progress. The ideal brain age is of 20 years: according Professor’s theory, anyone can get this result, even who’s older.
More Brain Training is, so, the second chapter of the series, but you doesn’t necessarily have played the first one to appreciate it, despite it can be very useful for the ones who got tired at playing the same old minigames and wants to try something new, even keeping the same Brain Training structure.
Both the games are included in the “Touch! Generations” titles, a series thought by Nintendo to get new people closer to the videogames world, like aged adults. This is a factor that has to be considered during the reading of this review, as lots of aspects about the game, starting from the graphic one, have been projected to also allow less expert users to easily play. Such aspects are to be judged considering the point of view of these new extremely random players too.
Graphic and display
First thing first you can notice when you start playing for the first time this game, is the position you have to keep you Nintendo DS in your hands: while, as usual, the touchscreen is to be on the bottom, in More Brain Training you’ll have to keep the DS as it is an open book, where the touchscreen is on your right and the former “upper” one on your left.
Menu displaying is very simple and linear; in fact it’s made of four colored rectangles on a white background on the right screen, while on your left you just have the title screen.
Such a linear graphic carries both pros and cons. In fact, it can be very simple and usable for the ones who, at first get closet o the videogames world; on the other hand it can be felt badly to the most expert gamers, giving the wrong idea that it is a game of a little relevance or even a bad made game.
Graphic results as very (maybe even too) familiar for who already played Brain Training: if it weren’t for the change of fonts and, of course, of the title, it’ll look to be in front of just the same game! A renovation would’ve been better, even if probably the choice of leaving everything like in the first chapter was dictated by the need not to disorient the less expert users.
Also for what concerns the audio part, a few improvements have been made and lots of sounds are just the ones from the previous chapter. Besides this lack in changing the soundtrack is likeable enough and there are a few effects spread somewhere that makes exercises funny.
in this new Brain Training chapter the sound part earns an higher relevance thanking the introduction of new exercises based on music and listening: in both cases the audio quality is good and, in the listening exercise, where you have to guess some pronounced words, there are no difficulties connected to the audio, as sounds are very clear and intelligible.
More Brain Training consists in three main sections: the brain age test, that can be tried once a day to try improving your own record, the daily training, composed by eleven exercises, which are to be unlocked by playing, and Sudoku, into three different difficulty levels. The brain age test consists in a mix of training exercises, adding a couple of “exclusive” minigames for this mode. For what concerns training, exercises are way more different to each other that the ones in Brain Training and the “creative” part is highly increased, for example in the case of the musical game, where you’ll have to play some suggested melodies, or the remainder exercise, in which you need to calculate the right change to be given to an hypothetical customer, by selecting coins with the pen until giving the correct change.
To solve a part of the suggested exercises you’ll have to write some words down: the recognition system is good enough, especially if you write following the instructions in the guide: in that case the recognition is almost always perfect, as I’ve just wrote an imperfect “O”, which was read ad a “D”.
Another important mode is the Sudoku one, the famous 9×9 Japanese puzzle that you have to complete with the right numbers. There’s a helping tool to get the job easier to the less expert and, besides, it’s possible to take notes on the boxes, writing in little the numbers that can be good for that position, which is needed to complete the higher level puzzles.
More Brain Training is a software to keep your brain trained: for the training to be constant and useful, Doct. Kawashima advices you to daily train. The game hasn’t a real ending, it’s theoretically infinite. Anyway the number of exercises is limited enough, so, after having played it every day for sometimes, you can get bored and stop using it.
However, you don’t need to get mad, as the developers thought at some “pearl” to make the game more different and pleasant, trying to postpone as much as possible the day you’ll leave it because you know it too well. The first mode is the multiplayer: you can challenge your friends (even who doesn’t have More Brain Training) with the exercises Anagrams, Memory 5×5 and Counts and Remainders.
As already said, Sudoku too can be a very good option. The puzzle you can solve are 120 and the advanced level ones don’t have an immediate solution, so you’re going to need some time to finish the three levels, Simple, Medium and Advanced.
In the end, there’s need to remember that the fun increases if you’re a lot in the family playing together. The game can host up to independent profiles, which rarely can share some minigames, like the one you’re asked to draw something. Once every family member completes the drawing (or any else activity) they’ll be compared, revealing potential artists, or… potential spectacles, to laugh about together!
Despite there are these functions that can increase the longevity, you’re likely to get bored in the long time to make the same old exercises.
More Brain Training is surely a perfect game if you want to satisfy everyone in the family, from the grandparent to the nephew; it’s easy to use for everyone. Gameplay is surely original, the game has to be advised to who got bored of the usual genres and is looking for something different, or it can be a good excuse to carry you mom and dad into the videogames world. Besides, it fully uses the touch functionalities of Nintendo DS, just like the microphone and the shape of the console itself. I think that everyone has to give at least one chance to this game, even if the simple feature to separate from the ordinary.