DS

North America

Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day

by Karl Castaneda - September 5, 2007, 12:01 am PDT
Total comments: 2

7

More of the Same Training in Minutes a Day.

It's been about 17 months since I reviewed the original Brain Age, commending it for being the first non-game to actually hold my interest. I really enjoyed its pick-up-and-playability, simple-but-fun activities, and of course, Dr. Kawashima's quirky, disembodied head acting as your mentor. So I had high hopes for Brain Age 2, and while it brings the aforementioned to the table, I can't in good conscience award it the same high marks.

Once again, Kawashima, renowned Japanese neurologist, leads you through various tests to determine your brain age level, followed by a set of hurdles (completed via the touch screen or microphone) meant to quicken your ability to call up information, improve your memory, and generally, whip your mind into shape.

The problem with a game like Brain Age 2 is that it's exactly like its predecessor. The experience as a whole hasn't been revamped in any way; rather, new activities have replaced old ones, though they still have the same goal (i.e. instead of performing arithmetic problems, you've got to draw symbols that allow for an equation to make sense, as in 7 ? 9 = 16). For the most part, the new applications (particularly Change Maker) are great fun. There's even a version of Dr. Mario (save the Mario part) hidden on the activity list, and, like the last game, there are a bunch of Sudoku puzzles to be found. Unfortunately, this doesn't remove the fact that this feels more like an expansion pack than a true sequel.

It should be noted that some of the problems with the first release have been remedied. Contrary to what you might have heard the speech recognition has been much improved, and the handwriting recognition, overall, feels much better. There are still some hiccups, like confusing Cs for Gs, but it's not a major concern.

If you never played the original game, then Brain Age 2 is a great value and shouldn't be missed considering its budget price. If you own the original, though, perhaps you should consider whether or not more of the same is what you're looking for.

From a presentation standpoint, the aforementioned notes of similarity between iterations are even truer, with the same minimalist approach being taken to the graphics. I'm pretty sure I even saw the same graphs and diagrams used to explain what a "brain age" is. From an aural standpoint, the same elevator music takes front stage, and barring the piano playing and word recitation activities, there's no difference between playing with the sound on or off.

It needs to be reiterated that the best audience for this game is the one that didn’t play the first game. That being said, if all you’re looking for are new mini-games wrapped in the same game, then it can also be recommended for purchase. Those hoping for an overhaul will have to wait for the inevitable Brain Age 3.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7 6.5 8.5 7.5 9 7
Graphics
7

Brain Age’s minimalist visual style gets the job done, but don’t expect it to wow anybody.

Sound
6.5

The sound might as well not exist, aside from the piano-playing and word-recitation games.

Control
8.5

Improved voice and touch recognition puts this game a few notches above its predecessor concerning controls.

Gameplay
7.5

It’s the same formula as the first Brain Age, and it works pretty well for what it seeks to do.

Lastability
9

You can get a LOT out of Brain Age 2 if you stick with the program.

Final
7

Though this game is a bit too similar to its predecessor to make the same impact on me, it’s still a solid release and definitely worth it to those who never picked it up last year.

Summary

Pros
  • Carries the same effective design of the first game
  • Unlockable Dr. Mario (sans Mario)
Cons
  • A bit too similar to the first game to really be considered a true sequel
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

thatguySeptember 05, 2007

It's much better than Brain Age, IMO. The games just feel better. If you enjoyed the first, you'll like the sequel.

IceColdSeptember 05, 2007

The original is in my Top 5 favourite DS games, so I'm sure I'll love this too.. I'll be picking it up.

Share + Bookmark





More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima: How Old Is Your Brain? Box Art

Genre Puzzle
Developer Nintendo
Players1 - 16
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day
Release Aug 20, 2007
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone
jpn: Motto Nou o Kitaeru Otona no DS Training
Release Dec 29, 2005
PublisherNintendo
RatingAll Ages
eu: More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima: How Old Is Your Brain?
Release Jun 27, 2007
PublisherNintendo
Rating3+
aus: More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima: How Old Is Your Brain?
Release Jul 05, 2007
PublisherNintendo
RatingGeneral
Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement