|System: DSi||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: Apr. 5, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
As a fan of the Brain Age franchise, I was a little disappointed at first when I heard that the series' first outing on the DSi would be math-based. Don't get me wrong, running through the calculations X20 is certainly mind-stimulating, but it certainly wasn't my favorite part of the Brain Age experience. However, there is much more than math in this title, which was quite surprising, given this game's namesake.
The game is formatted exactly the same way as previous Brain Age titles. You begin by taking a Brain Age test, which determines how old your brain is. The goal is to hit as close to 20 as possible (the optimum Brain Age), but if this is your first time on Brain Age, expect to have a devastating score in your mid-fifties or worse!
After you become thoroughly depressed about the state of your brain, the game's friendly floating head, which is modeled after real-life brain scientist Dr. Kawashima, will encourage you to do several Brain exercises per day to help boost your mental activity, so that next time you check your Brain Age, the news won't be so bad.
Most of the training exercises in Brain Age Express: Math will be familiar to those who have played previous entries in the series. Mainstays like Calulations X20 and X100 are here of course, as well as Triangle Math and Serial Subtraction from Brain Age 2. New additions, Sum Totaled and Multi Tasker, add even more Math variation to the game and are great for long-time veterans of the series who don't just want to play through recycled Brain Age mini-games.
However, what really sets this Brain Age apart is a brand-new Themes mode. This mode features mini-games that stimulate the more creative side of your brain. Including those that, you guessed it, feature interaction with the DSi cameras. There are three different categories in the Themes section: drawing, acting, and voice acting.
The drawing games are pretty straightforward, resembling the drawing prompts that were given in other Brain Age titles. The difference here, however, is that you can choose a specific category that falls into the drawing section and then draw based on prompts that fall into that heading. So, if for instance you choose the Fantasy drawing category, you can expect to draw dragons, witches, and other fantastical characters. But, if you choose the People category, you will be prompted to draw famous people from history, like Beethoven and Napoleon.
The Acting theme, however, is a lot more fun than the drawing, using the DSi's camera. You can choose from several categories, including School, Silliness, and Drama, and each category will prompt you to make certain faces and expressions. The Drama category, for example, will have you posing as a villain and a shocked person. Once you take the pictures, you will see some images that demonstrate key facial movements that you should have made during your "acting."