Brain Age Express: Math Review for Nintendo DSi

Brain Age Express: Math Review for Nintendo DSi

More than Math

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.

Brain Age Express: Math screenshot

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.

Brain Age Express: Math screenshot

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.

Brain Age Express: Math screenshot

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.”

Finally, the Voice Acting theme, as you might expect, involves your ability to emote though your voice. The game will give you a situation, and then you will have to read a line as the character from the story would. Although Brain Age does not score or judge you here, it does highlight some key things that you should have done with your voice for it to be effective.

Brain Age Express: Math screenshot

The one thing that I found disappointing about the Themes was that they don’t change. While mini-games like Calculations x20 are different each time you boot them up, the Themes challenges are always the same, and therefore have little replay value. Still, they are a whole lot of fun the first time through, and they are a nice reprieve from the math-focused parts of the game.

Control, visuals, and sound are all about the same as previous Brain Age games. Dr. Kawashima’s familiar floating head will still be around, and little friendly beeping noises and music still play in the background. Brain Age Express: Math also uses the touch screen exclusively, and since most mini-games involve writing or drawing, control is a breeze.

Although Brain Age Express: Math certainly does not have all the functionality of its DS-based big brothers, this DSi exclusive sure comes close. With eight different math-focused training modes, and several special Theme modes, there is plenty to do in Brain Age Express: Math for the DSi. And at 800 points, this is a great way to get back into training, or start it up for the first time! The game even tells you on the DSi’s main menu how many stamps you have earned, so there really is no excuse this time. Whip that brain into shape!

Standard Brain Age visuals get the job done and feel very familiar for veterans of the series. 4.0 Control
Controls are exclusively touch screen-based, and it is very easy to draw shapes, characters, and numbers with the stylus. 3.1 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Recognizable background music and friendly sound effects make this title comfortable to listen to. 3.3

Play Value
Although many of the math-based brain training elements are borrowed from previous Brain Age games, the new Themes mode makes it worth the 800 points to download, especially for those who have never played Brain Age before.

3.6 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • In this math-focused edition of the popular Brain Age series, players can enjoy a mix of new and familiar exercises, including Change Maker, Triangle Math, Sum Totaled, and Multi Tasker.
  • A new Themes mode challenges you in drawing, photography, and voice acting and lets you share your creativity with your friends and family.
  • And if you need a break from things, the always-enjoyable Virus Buster makes its return. Prepare for another round of training your brain in minutes a day!

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