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DSiWare: Brain Challenge Review Package Art

DSiWare: Brain Challenge Review

As summer lays its head to rest, classrooms slowly awake with pencil scribbles and teachersí lectures. But school isnít the only answer for keeping the noggin kicking as fall fills the air. Publisher and developer Gameloft presents a professor for students of all ages and occupations with Brain Challenge for Nintendo DSiWare. The experience mimics better instructors available for the handheld system instead of defining its own lesson plan, but still offers a well-rounded and respectable course load.

The title acts as a daily refresher for the mind, with a test that measures brain capacity in five different categories -- logic, math, memory, visual, and focus. Each group consists of various minigames, such as solving math equations and quickly picking specific objects, which all utilize the stylus. These small tasks range from entertaining to lackluster; but for the most part, the game contains an impressive variety of challenges and plays rather well with touch-screen controls, specifically a high-quality writing recognition system. Itís impressive to see the game easily differentiate between numerals 5 and 4 with even chicken-scratch writing.

Gameloft tops the brain test off with a couple of small, well-implemented carrots to keep users coming back day after day. For one, pupils start with only 10 percent brain capacity, slowly moving up percentiles by achieving high marks on the tests. As brainpower improves, new ranking titles become unlocked, such as the Unmatched Brain Capacity. Rounding the experience out, thereís a variety of charts and stat tracking, which log performances from each test. Sadly, thereís no way to compare statistics with another user, a feature prevalent in other brain games like Brain Age. But, the title does allow the supposedly daily test to be taken numerous times within 24 hours, instead of locking the content until the next day.

Brain Challenge ScreenshotBrain Challenge Screenshot

The daily test, though, is not the only course available to students. A Stress Mode serves as a way to measure oneís stress degree throughout the week. Though, the tasks for this test seem to aggravate more than relax, as minigames are reshuffled with annoying sounds and clanks to distract the player from the task at-hand. While the mode adds a twist to the edutainment genre and the title, itís rather irritating and ultimately subtracts from the overall experience.

A more refreshing mode, which unfortunately is locked at first, pertains to the Bonus Mode. This feature actually includes relaxing games, such as a Microsoft Paint rip-off and a full-featured puzzle mode, where shapes must be fit into a silhouetted image. There are a few duds within the 15 tasks available and the fact that they must be unlocked is shortsighted, but once available, itís a worthy addition to the titleís classroom.

As for Brain Challengeís setting, it mostly consists of cool blue backgrounds and touch-screen buttons. There is also quirky animations that work well for the minigames, and a bland 3D-modeled doctor -- either male or female Ė serves as a brain trainer. Teaming with the above average visuals is some sufficient background music and chipper sound effects, along with small use of the DSi Camera. The title takes your picture for your profile, but the photo does appear in a couple of the minigames, which showcases a nice touch of personality and detail. Ultimately, all these variables equate to a highly functional presentation.

Overall, thereís definitely other titles -- better titles -- available for the system that this package obviously copies from, specifically Brain Age. But, Brain Challenge is a budget title, retails for 800 Nintendo Points and does a respectable job mimicking a standout product, along with a couple ventures of its own. Whether itís a top-notch writing recognition system, appealing visual template or enjoyable modes and minigames, this title definitely deserves a passing grade, even if itís not the valedictorian of the class.

final score 7.1/10

Staff Avatar Evan Campbell
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"Real men don't fight ó they sing!"

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