This post is cross-posted at Everyday Goddess Does...
Ah, Brain Age 2: You never forget your first Nintendo DS addiction.
OK, that's a little mellow dramatic, but the addiction - the addiction is real. You wouldn't think you'd keep coming back for the opportunity to do do math problems and make change, but you do - although some of the exercises are more fun.
Brain Age tests you and then gives you your "brain age" - which is ridiculously older than you really are, mostly because you've haven't done math drills or other types of brain puzzles since you were in school. Add graphs of your progress and an oddly encouraging character in Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, and you'll soon find you're hooked.
That said, I do have some quibbles with the game. Often, when you turn it on Dr. Kawashima makes you do some acrostics or connect the dots to make a picture. You can't skip it, and if you're just logging in to do a sudoku (Brain Age 2 comes with 100 suduko puzzles), that can be really, really annoying. I'll admit right now that I've taken to just drawing a line through the acrostic screens so that I can get through them. Because man, do I suck at acrostics.
Plus, I'm a little freaked out that I was, like, revealing my soul through my absurd answers. What do my strange acrostics answers say about me?
Further, once you unlock the harder problems, your scores on the harder levels of each exercise go on the same graph with your previous scores, leading to this:
That giant dip would be the day I tried the harder version of sign finder. Ouch! By the way, there's nothing like getting simple math problems wrong - You're like, holy crap, I totally need this brain training! It's also interesting to see how being tired really effects your performance.
Finally, I wish there was a way to turn off the bulk of the conversation from Dr. Ryuta Kawashima. It's fun at first, but now it's just a drag having to page through stuff I've read a million times before.
So what's to love? Well, the exercises are surprisingly fun if you enjoy puzzles and tests. There's a piano player thing I love, and word scramble - which I'm actually getting better at (minor miracle!), some cool visual puzzles, and something called "math recall" which is really challenging, as it combines memory and math. There's a rock/paper/scissors brain age test that actually hurts my head with its mental acrobatics. Some of the activities are only on the brain age test, so you can't practice them.
I like how your speed is visually represented by various modes of transportation - Blow it, and you're at "walking speed"; rock the house and it's "rocket speed" for you. (Hint: tap your stylus on the man, or the car, or the train, plane, rocket for fun sounds! Confession: Hunky Actor Boyfriend clued me into that one.)
The sudoku interface is really good, and then there's my true obsession: Virus Buster, a game that comes in Brain Age 2. The only suck there is that only your first score of the day is recorded. That's fine for the brain training, but is lame for recording game scores, especially when your second score of the day breaks 400. Ahem. Still, I *love* Virus Buster, and I've been playing it every night before bed. (Yes, I am a dork.)
So while it's not perfect, Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day! is a really great game for Nintendo DS that I definitely recommend. And here's a pic of me playing it on my lunch break at work:
It's hard to read Hemingway when there's a DS in your purse.
Please note: I am a Nintendo Enthusiast, and I received this game for free.