|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Interchannel-Holon||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Majesco||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 22, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Mega Brain Boost is three games for one price. The package comes with the first two games in the Brain Boost series: Brain Boost Beta Wave and Brain Boost Gamma Wave. It also includes a new game that I can only surmise is entitled Mega Brain Boost. These exercises are specifically designed to be played in bite-sized chunks over weeks and months. While you can blast through all of the exercises in a day, this is not a race. Pace is essential to good brain training. When you take into account the benefits, the replay value, the number of games that you get, and the price at under twenty bucks, this is a no-brainer.
Memory mini-games comprise most of what you would consider the gameplay. You will have various patterns, numbers, colors, and images to recall. Some of the games are similar to the game of Concentration in which you have to match two identical images hidden behind panels on a large grid. There are free games of Concentration that you can play on the net. To break things up, there are some math exercises in which you will have to count various dots, anticipate patterns, and calculate the amount of change due from a purchase. Most of the answers are presented as multiple choice, so you will almost always have the correct answer in front of you. So it's possible to get lucky on a few.
A high score is helpful but there isn't anything here to chart your progress. At the end of each training session you will be given a percentage telling your right brain strength, but it's really just your score thinly disguised as a progress report. You won't be graded and evaluated in such a way that you can determine in what areas you need improvement. A training mode lets you pick an exercise in an effort to improve in a certain area, but it's up to you to determine what area you need to target. It would be so much more effective if the game simply called up a series of relevant exercises for you to focus on after processing your results.
A time limit will add some stress to some of these tests. Not all of them are timed events but that helps to add some much-need spice to this relatively one-course meal. Graphically the presentation misses the boat. The graphics have a hand-drawn quality that have the potential to be charming, but instead we're left with sterile, washed out backgrounds, icons that are small and hard to see, and a main character that remains virtually static and mute. Add to this the same repetitive tune played over and over, and you have production values commensurate with the budget price. Hey, sometimes you get what you pay for.
Played for the right reason, a little bit at a time, Mega Brain Boost could be considered great value for the money, production values aside. I can't tell you for certain if it will increase your right brain functions and ultimately your make you more intelligent, but as the saying goes: You'se pays your money and you takes your chances. But lets' face it, the price isn't too steep, and any kind of intellectual exercise can't hurt. As another saying goes: Use it or lose it.
CCC Senior Writer