Surely by now Nintendo has a construction kit for stuff like this. With two Brain Training games and the more recent Sight Training already riding high, the formula is straight: dig out a professor that nobody outside of the East has heard of, stick in some daily activities and convince punters that they’re getting cleverer – or better eyesight – in the process.
The latest off the production line is Maths Training, and the Professor in residence this time is Professor Kageyama. Coupled with The Hundred Cell Calculation Method, his mission is to teach you addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.
The main way the game does this is through daily training, where you’re encouraged to go back every day and try some more exercises, gradually being pushed towards more and more demanding tests. These tests, though, are also available in the practice area of the game.
They range from fairly simple sums, covering straight questions, to ones where you need to input the missing number and flash addition (where the numbers pop up quickly on the screen). Naturally, the range covers difficulty levels too. The game encourages to you play these with two players if you can, and registers fastest times and awards medals, too.
The two most taxing elements of Maths Training, however, are the Division Marathon and the 100 Cell Method. The former presents some quite taxing division posers and asks you to fill in the missing numbers. The latter (which can be done in smaller chunks if you desire) basically puts numbers down both a horizontal and vertical axis, and you must go along the grid. Assuming it’s an addition exercise you’re doing, you must fill in each square with the sum of the appropriate number from the vertical and horizontal. All the while the clock is ticking, and when filling in 100 cells, it can be a beast of challenge.
Maths Training lacks some of the variety of the Brain Training games, and its niche is narrower too. There’s little chance of it turning anyone onto maths if they’re not already mildly interested, in spite of its best efforts.
The main problem we found, though, was that the handwriting recognition was suprisingly off colour. When the clock is ticking and you’re frantically trying to answer 100 sums in succession, the last thing you need is a 5 being confused with an 8, and it’s an unfortunate problem for the game. There are, to be fair, recommendations in the instructions as to how to best go about writing your answers, but we defy anyone to recall them accurately in the midst of a test.
Maths Training is an unspectacular, yet efficient, entry to the series. Targeted at everyday mathematicians looking to stretch themselves a little more, and perhaps even more ideally at a younger audience, it’s another useful addition to Nintendo’s Training portfoilio.