Brain Challenge – Because its fun to laugh at the less intelligent
©2008 Jim McIntyre
“`The brain training genre has surprisingly taken off at a frantic rate recently thanks to Nintendo’s consoles. Even more surprising if you have yet to play one of these titles, is that they are actually fun. Brain Challenge is Gameloft’s foray into this genre and the first of its kind for the Xbox360.
“`As is standard for this sort of game Brain Challenge offers daily tests that are designed to sharpen your brain. These daily tests are made up of a bunch of fast mini-games that test different aspects of your intelligence such as arithmetic, logic, focus, memory and others. Your results are used to determine the % of your brain you are using and the game tracks your progress with a variety of charts.
As far as actually making you smarter there is a lot less chance that Brain challenge will actually accomplish this than any of the other titles of this variety on the market. This is due to the fact that the game seems to test your reflexes more than your intellect. The entire scoring system appears to be skewed towards rewarding speed more than accuracy. As I played more and more my score was certainly going up, but I can’t help but feel it had more to do with me getting the hang of the mini-games, rather than any increase of intelligence on my behalf.
You are given the choice of a male or female doctor to guide you through the game. Both of which provide you with random trivia questions at random times throughout the game. While this does not really add anything to the game, it does help to keep things interesting.
The majority of the mini-games themselves are all quite fun, and there is a fairly wide variety of them. All of them can be practiced in the training room once unlocked via the daily test. Unfortunately the tutorials for a lot of the games are not very clear and leave you with no idea of what you are meant to be doing.
Aside from the daily tests there is also a kids test and a stress test. The kids test is merely a simplified version of the daily test with questions being a lot easier. The stress test features the mini-games from the daily test, but has distracting and disorientating twists to all of them. According to the stress test I am incredibly stressed, which is something I had not been aware of. Suffice to say the results of this one do not seem to have any accuracy, but then it would be surprising if they could pull accurate results from those mini-games.
Visually it is fairly under-whelming as a whole. The music on the other hand fits really well and I found to be quite enjoyable. The audio annoyance I had was with the aforementioned doctors. For some unknown reason Gameloft has made the doctor’s mouths move when text appears on the screen to give the impression the doctors are talking, but there is no corresponding audio. With the doctors being such an essential part of the presentation of the game it seems quite odd that they would not bother to include audio. With the doctor’s mouth flapping up and down silently it is simply just unnerving.
While Brain Challenge is great fun, there are much better options of the same sort of game on other consoles. If you are do not own another console and are into this type of game, then I highly recommend Brain Challenge. It is sure to challenge your brain and the multiplayer, although simplistic, is an absolute blast in small doses. I can not guarantee you will get smarter, but I do guarantee there is fun to be had with this title.
©2008 Jim McIntyre
Brain Challenge Media Blowout