Mega Brain Boost Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

Mega Brain Boost Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

Give your Right Brain the Right Workout

Games that purport to increase your intelligence by having you perform a series of specially designed mini-games only serves to make me smart enough to realize just how stupid I really am.

Mega Brain Boost screenshot

They say that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I think that applies to mental health as well. It seems the more that you know about the world, the more depressed you may become. That’s why “they” also came up with the saying “ignorance is bliss.” Then again perhaps you don’t have to be stupid to be happy, but it can’t hurt. It was Einstein himself who said that if you want to remain happy, don’t read the newspaper. In other words, don’t fill your mind full of negative information that you have no control over. Mega Brain Boost promises to give you control and not fill your mind full of negative energy.

Intelligence is a very difficult thing to measure simply because we lack a definitive definition of it. Having a good memory is a great asset, but having one doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re smart. Tests in school are more often than not a testing of one’s memory ability, not reasoning or other forms of abstract thinking. Intelligence is more than knowledge. Knowledge is just information. A book contains knowledge, but you wouldn’t consider it intelligent. Intelligence determines how well you can put that knowledge to use.

Mega Brain Boost screenshot

Mega Brain Boost doesn’t purport to give you knowledge, it just exercises your brain to help sharpen the tools of intellect to help you better process information. Through a series of mini-game exercises, Mega Brain Boost attempts to help you develop a better memory. Unlike other games such as Brain Age, Mega Brain Boost targets one specific area, memory, and really gives your right hemisphere a workout. Those that are used to the variety of exercises presented by games such as Brain Age may find this game redundant or even boring at times. But according to the Shichida Method of right brain training, which is the foundation for this game, these exercises work.

Games such as Nintendo’s Brain Age have exposed the DS to a demographic that likely would never be interested in playing video games on the handheld system. It’s because these brain training exercises are not games is precisely why they have become popular with adults. And I’m talking grandmas and grandpas here as well. Mega Brain Boost may not be as much fun or as comprehensive as Brain Age, but those that are interested in games such as these for the benefits and challenge will certainly get huge bang for their buck with this purchase.

Mega Brain Boost screenshot

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.

Mega Brain Boost screenshot

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.

Washed out backgrounds. Some items are too small to see. 4.4 Control
Literally pick out, or point out, the correct answer. 1.1 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
No voice acting. Limited sound effects. Looped music. 3.7

Play Value
Played in small doses will yield best results.

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

Game Features:

  • Get three full brain games on 1 game cartridge.
  • Play a friend in any of the 15 game types to see who has boosted their brain the most.
  • Choose from 4 levels of difficulty for each multiplayer game type.
  • Increase your level of difficulty by answering correctly.
  • Games in speed, accuracy, recognition, numbers, circumstances, faces, images, and more.

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