|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nintendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 20, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-6||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day, is the follow-up to the phenomenal hit Brain Age. The marketing geniuses at Nintendo developed something more than just a mere game. Even though it consists of what we in the business call mini-games, they are presented as something more than just frivolous entertainment.
These games are reputed to actually improve your internal processing unit: Your brain. As such, Brain Age has sold incredibly well to an older demographic that probably hasn't touched an arcade game since Ms. Pac-Man was in her prime.
The original Brain Age presented the player with a series of challenging tests. These tests have similarities to IQ tests, but they are more fun and designed to be played repeatedly, so as to be improved upon. After a short time of testing, you are awarded a score that represents your relative brain age. The higher the score, the more atrophied your brain matter. After a few weeks of regular playing, you will eventually reduce your score to an age closer to your physical age.
Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day is a long but aptly descriptive title. There's no mincing of words. It's a continuation of the original, and while it looks and plays similarly, the new content shows that the developers were busy thinking. I don't even fault Nintendo for keeping the same interface and graphics. It works. Like a crossword puzzle, it's the gameplay that matters, not the graphics. Brain Age 2 isn't just rehash, it's like a whole new concept. It's a more refined package. Everything works so much smoother, even the voice-recognition system. It's more adventurous than before, with new tests that are addicting and frustrating. It's compelling and irresistible. The biggest problem, as I see it, is having to put the game away after a few minutes of play. But that's not really the case thanks to the addition of different modes. There's more to do than ever, thanks to the multiplayer component that allows you to play with a handful of friends with only one copy of the game.
Speaking of crossword puzzles, Brain Age 2 has included a hundred Sudoku puzzles. They are all the rage in Japan. Think of them as crossword puzzles with numbers instead of letters. They are incredibly challenging and guaranteed to give your mind a workout. Consider this bonus content. I know there are numerous Sudoku puzzles being offered for handhelds, but they can't compare to the ease and sophistication of Brain Age's interface. At twenty bucks, the Sudoku puzzles are worth the price of admission alone. The engine on this game runs like a Rolls Royce.
In order to train your brain, you will need to sharpen your skills in math, memorization, logic, reason, spelling, exploration, observations, permutations, and coordination. No stone will be left unturned when you're done. And there will no longer be an excuse for being an idiot. I can guarantee that you'll be in condition to become smarter than a fifth grader after a few weeks with Brain Age 2.