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|Subject: Brain Age 2 Sat May 10, 2008 5:33 am|| |
Brain Age 2's subtitle tells you almost everything you need to know about Nintendo's new mind-flexing sequel. It's "more training in minutes a day." The structure and presentation of Brain Age 2 is functionally identical to the previous game, but this time around, you'll see different training minigames. This means it's perfect for people who played the first game and are looking for more.
The games in Brain Age 2 are more advanced than the previous game, which had you doing basic math problems half the time. Now, those math problems have twists, such as one game where you continually add numbers, but one number is removed from the screen after a second or so, which forces you to use your memory to remember numbers and solve the problem. Another puts the keys of a piano on the touch screen and has you follow along with some sheet music to play a tune. Another has voices say two or three words at the same time, and you need to pick apart the garbled speech then write down the words you hear. All in all, the different games are satisfyingly different from what was in the first game and make for a solid companion piece.
The minigames in Brain Age 2 get a little more involved than most of the stuff in the first game.
The structure of Brain Age remains the same. You can train away on the different games, but the main test gives you three tests and uses your performance to calculate how "old" your brain is, which is the brain age check. The lower the score, the more nimble the game claims your brain is, all the way down to the best possible score of age 20. While there's a doctor's name on the box, the jury is still out on just how scientifically proven this stuff is, but that hardly matters. It'll make you think just as much as any newspaper brain teaser, if not more so, and it still has a great collection of sudoku puzzles too. Unfortunately, the game also has some of the same problems that the previous game did because the speech and handwriting recognition can occasionally get sketchy. It's very frustrating to know all the answers only to have the game score you with a mistake because you didn't speak clearly enough for it to pick out your words.
On top of the brain training and sudoku, you can play the game with up to 16 players in all, using only one copy of the game. Competing on some of the games can be fun, though you get a lot of that by having multiple players play the single-player training games on one DS as well. The game also has a very basic touch-screen version of Dr. Mario hidden in it, which is kind of neat.
Brain Age 2 is solid fun and available at a bargain price. But it can only be recommended to players who have already exhausted all of the excitement out of the original Brain Age and want a slightly more advanced course. If you haven't played the original, you should start there and work your way onto the sequel.
By Jeff Gerstmann
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