Ubisoft gets into the brain-age game with their own remedy to perk up your mental skills. Under stressed, or just a little slow, Brain Challenge gives up a hit diagnostics on the Nintendo DS.
Brain Challenge claims it’s an enjoyable way to improve coping skills in real-life situations along with stress, and who am I to argue? After all the DS is the doctor, not me. It’s no surprise that playing Brain Challenge will boost in fact stimulate your brains activity because you have to make a conscious effort to be alert and think while running through the various mini-games within Brain Challenge. To keep you entertained Brain Challenge boasts over 40 activities in seven different categories including self-adjusting difficulty levels and feedback from the wonderful hostess and host.
French developer Gameloft approach to Brain Challenge is rather soothing and fun without coming off as an overly dry "brain" games that have been flooding the market. Accessible and rather friendly, Brain Challenge takes the worry out of thinking too much, even though you’ll do it. The easy navigation and clear instructions lets you enjoy the brain-straining activities without frustration, unless it's on purpose. Even the purposely frustrating "Stress Test" within Brain Challenge isn't obnoxious or complicated. Brain Challenge is clearly defined at all times which is a nod towards developers ability to keep gamers in the game and not alienated with frustration.
Working your brain into overtime is accomplished by putting it through the rounds in the Training Room. In the training room you can test yourself in either "Brain Training", or "Stress Training". I know you can guess which one is more stressful? Honestly, they both can be stressful under the pressure of the clock; however the stress training lives up name. Brain Training is broken down into five subcategories. These categories include “Logic”, “Math”, “Memory”, “Visual”, and “Focus”. Shown in brain models you will see the area of brain that will be stimulated during each test.
Training in logic and math uses the right side of your parietal lobe while memory use stimulates the bottom part of your parietal lobe, which mainly used to process information including your hearing. Visual training focuses the occipital lobe, and “Focus” training trains your whole brain. According to Brain Challenge this is the best way to train your brain as a whole. During the game you will continue to test your brain while learning about it at the same time which is a nice after thought. Constantly, my brain was being stimulated and almost all the time I was processing new information I didn’t know. I guess my prefrontal cortex was working overtime.
Stress Training is the other area of focus in Brain Challenge which is challenges your ability to focus and stay cool while answering the same tough questions as in the brain section. Stress Training is broken down to three sub-categories, "Authority", "Multitask", and "Physical". During these mini-games, Brain Challenge will try and annoy you and break you consternation as you run through quiz after quiz. Some of these games include answering Arithmetic questions or solving puzzles while under a time limit. Tests will also be giving with audio present or heavily added visuals made to block your view of the question, or acting erratic with the purpose to test your skill under pressure. In my experience, I found my stress level would jump around more than the standard brain tests that thankfully slightly increased every day.
If you’re wondering if Brain Challenge is upping you IQ you can easily look back at your progress in chart form. From the main menu you can look at your brain charts, stress chart along with other statistics from the number of hours you’ve played to ratio’s on everything from slow-answer to correct answer. If you’re brave enough scroll down in the more statistics section to the end and you will see your estimated cerebral age.
That’s not all Brain Challenge offers they also have some bonus games, or more like little applications to help pass the time. These include painting apps like Window's paint program or the relaxing visual stimulant of fish swimming around in a virtual tank. In total you can unlock nine different activities to enjoy without the pressure of questions! A co-op mode is also available in Brain Challenge if you want to prove you’re smarter than your friends.
Brain Challenge is a fun adventurous take on the brain game genre. The amount of mini-games keep the stress and brain training fun and exciting even on daily plays. If you’re looking for a fun way to stimulate your cerebellum, Brain Challenge is the perfect challenge for your mind and a good sponge for building stress.
Gameplay:8, Graphics:8, Sound:7, Innovation:8, Mojo:8. Final: 7.8 / 10