Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day was one of the first inexplicable hits of the Nintendo DS. It provided a regimen of brain teasers and puzzles to supposedly prevent decreasing brain function. I’m not a doctor, and I can’t attest to whether it “worked” or not, but it was fun and a good game for commuting and killing minutes between activities. Several sequels and years later, Brain Age: Concentration Training jumps to the Nintendo 3DS with a new take on training your brain. Again, I don’t know if it actually helps, but I do know its brain teasers and puzzles are addictive. Brain Age is a lot like Sudoku…only engaging and fun.
Brain Age: Concentration Training focuses on improving your “working memory” rather than keeping up brain function. It does this through several “Devilish Training” modes that make you track moves, keep numbers or words in your head, and otherwise hold several things in your head at once. As its name implies, it’s a lot harder than the regular Brain Age activities. Modes like Devilish Calculations have you making a simple arithmetic calculation, then another, then remembering what the first one was. As you do better, you have to remember more and more, until you find yourself trying to keep four answers in your head and jotting them down in order while doing new calculations.
Each Devilish Training mode puts you through a five-minute marathon of testing, bumping up the difficulty if you get over 85 percent of the problems correct and bumping you down is you miss less than 65 percent. After five minutes, you’re scored and your level is saved for when you use that mode next. There are eight different types of Devilish Training modes, but only one is available at first. The others unlock as you play a little more every day.
Besides Devilish Training, there are Brain Training and Supplemental Training activities, each with nine different modes. Supplemental Training is a selection of classic Brain Age puzzles to keep your mind working. Brain Training is a collection of minigames including a few different solitaire games and puzzles. There’s also a Relaxation Mode that includes a color-matching puzzle game, a Dr. Mario-like puzzle game (complete with pills and germs), and a relaxing music player.
StreetPass lets you compare your records with people you pass on the street. You can also keep track of family and friends’ training on the same system. You can even compete with training partners and set goals for yourself against other players. There’s no head-to-head mode, which is a shame considering there’s a Dr. Mario game included, but Brain Age isn’t a competitive activity, anyway.
Brain Age: Concentration Training offers a new way to train your mind and improve your working memory, or so Nintendo claims. I don’t know if that’s the case, but I do know that Brain Age: Concentration Training has enough activities to keep your brain engaged whenever you find yourself with a few minutes to kill, and is a great game for 3DS owners who don’t necessarily want to play regular games. Even if it does absolutely nothing for the brain, it’s worth a solid four stars on the strength of its fun puzzles and tremendous replayability.
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|ESRB Rating||E for Everybody|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc