North America

Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day

by Karl Castaneda - April 10, 2006, 7:18 pm PDT
Total comments: 15

"Your brain needs more food!" - Dr. Kawashima

Not being that big a fan of edutainment, I didn't know how I was going to feel about Nintendo's Brain Age. I've had a mixed bag of reactions to Nintendo's other non-games, ranging from utter boredom with Animal Crossing to mild curiosity with Electroplankton. So going into a title designed to stimulate my mental muscle, I was pretty cautious. After making my profile and taking the obligatory introduction "brain age test," and seeing that I was over 50, my ego was pretty bruised. But because I was determined to improve, I haven't missed a day of training yet, and I think that's the purpose.

Brain Training is based on famed Japanese neurologist Ryuta Kawashima's mental fitness program, and it puts you through a series of short challenges designed to get your mind running, ranging from doing 20 quick arithmetic problems to seeing how fast you can read classic literature. Monitoring your progress every day, the polygonal disembodied head of Ryuta Kawashima (quite a sight to see, really) makes sure to spell out whether you're working hard or being lazy, and he motivates you to completing every challenge every day. His quips, combined with the speed-oriented exercises, make Brain Age really fun.

Unfortunately, there are only nine challenges in all (unlocked over time), and even though they're altered every day, this isn't the kind of game you'll be playing for hours a day; you probably won't even get to sixty minutes. Once you finish your training, the game's got nothing new to offer you until the next day.

Luckily, outside the main game are a plethora of Sudoku puzzles that Nintendo included for the English localization; Sudoku is that numerical brain-teaser that America seems to be obsessed with. I tried them out, and although it's not really my cup of tea, anyone with a fascination for the game (and I know many) will be glued to his or her DS.

All told, Brain Age has been a fun experience thus far, if a little brief. Check back next week when Brain Age releases nationally and PGC puts up the full review.


jasonditzApril 10, 2006

I got a chance to try out the download station version of Brain Age today.

I was impressed with how well the game played. I got my mom to try it too and she simply loved it.

Sudoku plays amazingly on the system. Handwriting recognition is pretty good.

If I had one complaint it was that the voice recognition could've been a little better. The word blue in particular seemed to be difficult to register. It wasn't so bad that it made the game unplayable, but it did severely hurt my score.

IceColdApril 10, 2006

Takashi Tohoku University future technology collaborative research center Kawasima thickly forges the professor supervision brain DS training

EDIT: Oh hey, the Lost Magic impressions got mixed up with this one..

Karl Castaneda #2April 10, 2006


Sorry, folks; human error on my part. All is fixed now.

trip1eXApril 10, 2006

I sold my DS early. I have to wait till the DS lite comes out before I can get this one.

Bob Dole likes Brain Age. Bob Dole! Bob Dole! bob do...

KnoxxvilleApril 10, 2006

I had the same exact problem with "blue"! I thought my mic was bad, but maybe not, unless both of our mics are bad. I hope the DS Lites mic is better! Any official release date for the DSL yet?

MarioApril 10, 2006

I had a problem with saying blue as well, this was a few months ago on the early demos. I found that saying it in my best american accent "blew" worked every time.

NephilimApril 10, 2006

I really enjoyed playing it a few months ago at wifi tour
got to play the beta english version, on the huge oversided offical nintendo flash cards

JensenApril 11, 2006

The Sudoku interface is really nice, but I think Sudoku is boring. I'd like to see a Dell Magazine game with lots of different puzzles, though.

Trying to get a good speed on math is kinda fun... But if I can also beat the other 8 or 9 challenges in 18 seconds each, then this game is quite low on content...

Karl Castaneda #2April 11, 2006

Well, Jensen, I think it's important to note that it's meant to be a training tool, and not something you play for an hour at a time. You play it for 15 or 20 minutes in the morning, and then you put it away for the rest of the day, playing Sudoku every once in a while if you're into that. That's why it's budget-priced ($19.99).

mantidorApril 16, 2006

Does it have an option for left handed users? I just tried to simulate holding the DS sideways and my left hand not only covers the whole non-touchable screen, it also smudges it really easy, its pretty annoying.

MarioApril 16, 2006

Yes. You just change the setting and flip it around.

mantidorApril 17, 2006

thats good to hear, now I can only hope that they actually give it a real budget prize for us, because DS games cost almost 50 dollars here face-icon-small-sad.gif

MarioApril 17, 2006

Heh, it's being priced at $50 AUD here, which is like $32 US. Still cheaper than a normal DS game though ($70). Nintendogs was also $50.

GoldenPhoenixApril 17, 2006

Crap, you guys get screwed on DS games. Here it is only 19.99 and the majority of DS games range from 29.99-34.99 (you seldom see the 40$ ones anymore).

Share + Bookmark

Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day Box Art

Genre Strategy
Developer Nintendo

Worldwide Releases

na: Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day
Release Apr 17, 2006
jpn: Tōhoku Daigaku Mirai Kagaku Gijutsu Kyōdō Kenkyū Center Kawashima Ryūta Kyōju Kanshū Nō o Kitaeru Otona no DS Training
Release May 19, 2005
RatingAll Ages
eu: Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain?
Release Jun 09, 2006
aus: Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain?
Release Jun 16, 2006
kor: Meail Meail DS Dunoe Training
Release Jan 18, 2007
Got a news tip? Send it in!