Flex your mental muscle with "More Brain Training from Dr. Kawashima: How Old is Your Brain?" - Review part 1
More Brain Training is the inevitable sequel to the hugely successful Dr Kawashima's Brain Training (this game is known as "Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day" in the US). Firing up the new cartridge, players of the original will find the sequel quite familiar, so much so that, if it were not for the word "more" in big red letters on the screen, you'd be forgiven for thinking you had inserted the wrong game card. Then again, with a formula as successful as Brain Training, who needs a fancy new interface?
Just as before, the main menu offers the options of "Quick Play", "Daily Training", "Sudoku" and "Download". Tackling Daily Training first, we once again created a new profile and listened to the doctors lecture on how our brains are probably very lazy and unfocused and hey is that a butterfly, neat! Oh sorry where was I? After the introduction, you are invited to do your first brain age check. Again, the software uses voice recognition for this first challenge but this time it's a warped version of rock paper scissors. Easy, you may think, but it is surprising how the game throws you off kilter by asking you to win some of the time and lose others. In spite of a few bouts of complete brain-freeze, I managed to finish this initial challenge and More Brain Training awarded me a brain-age of 49, a big improvement on the geriatric 80 that the original software dished out.
After the initial brain age check, I dived right into the daily training. As with the original, you are often asked to perform tasks before starting your training. This time however it is not just a matter of drawing pictures. Sometimes, you must join up dots and name the resulting picture, other times you play acoustics; making a phrase using the three letter word provided and trying to keep the phrase relevant to the word. These tasks provide an amusing distraction, especially when several people have registered on the same game card, as their efforts are displayed along with your own.
There are a whole bunch of new exercises on offer in More Brain Training. As before, the more you play the more you unlock:-
Missing Symbols – complete the equation by entering one of the mathematical symbols onto the screen.
Masterpiece Recital – Play a tune using a touch screen piano, more fun than it sounds!
Word Scramble – Stare at the spinning anagram and create the word. The handwriting recognition is generally quite good, but there is no opportunity to correct mistakes on the last letter.
Correct Change – You're given a price and a bank note (for example £4.80 and a £5 note). You then have to tap the coins to give the correct change (in this case, 1 x 20p).
Word Blend – Two or more voice samples are played over the top of each other. It is then your task to identify both words and write them on the touch screen. If you don’t get them the first time you can try again up to six times. Bizarrely, the word “tomato” is miss-spelled as "tomatoe" in this section, not very brainy of them!
Memory Addition – Remember the numbers that are erased and keep adding them up.
Days and Dates – Write the day or date according to the question given. Be careful how you write Sat and Sun and Tue or Thu as these can easily be picked up incorrectly.
Finishing Position – Concentrate on the runner and write down the race finishing position.
Determine the Time – Look at the mirrored and rotated clocks and write down the time in hours and minutes. Sadly, there is a bug in this section and no matter how carefully you write your answer it will not always come out as you wish it to.
Calculate the height – Watch the falling blocks and try to remember the various heights.