Never has being dumb been so fun.
Thanks to Brain Exercise with Dr. Kawashima, a new brain training iPhone app released by Namco Bandai, no longer do I need to pretend that I know how to read in order to seem like I have a single iota of intelligence.‚ Nope, instead all I have to do is turn on my handy iPhone device and start playing the various games that Brain Exercise has to offer, boosting the power of my frontal lobe in the process.
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Namco Bandai
June 8, 2009
However, with the ever-growing number of apps available, can Dr. Kawashima’s latest creation validate its price tag?‚ Let’s take a look.
The first thing you notice when booting up Brain Exercise is the very clean and colorful presentation found in every menu within the game.‚ If I was told that a sophisticated, educational game heavily used pastels and metallic color schemes throughout its menus, I would have been very skeptical.‚ Nevertheless, Brain Exercise with Dr. Kawashima makes it work.
After admiring the aesthetics, players must create their own personal, reusable account to login to the game.‚ Each of these profiles allow players to track the progress of their brain training and their improvements “" or regressions, as the case may be “" throughout certain mini-games within Brain Exercise.‚ Account holders can measure their progress through charts, graphs or even by use of a calendar.‚ If you end up deciding to download Brain Exercise, expect to be visiting your profile page religiously.
Once logged into a profile, players can begin their brain training.‚ There are two different ways to do this: either through Brain Training or Brain Age.‚ Each of these modes has their benefits and unique quirks as they test the different regions of the brain with their diverse collection of games.
When starting a brand new profile, I suggest starting with Brain Age.‚ This mode challenges players to complete a certain mini-game at the best time possible.‚ Players will only get one attempt at the game.‚ The more accurate and swiftly one can complete a game, the lower their brain age will be.
The difficult part of Brain Age mode is the fact that a player cannot attempt to lower their age more than once a day.‚ This offers a challenging experience to any player with a competitive, self-improvement mindset.
However, because Brain Age only allows one attempt at a single, brain area specific game each day, a player’s brain age is only determined by testing a single brain region.‚ This would lead to me scoring a low brain age when tested on a certain region, but a higher age when tested on another.‚ It just seems like something as all-inclusive as a brain age should test all regions of the brain, not just one.‚ I would much prefer a “brain region age” with this format.‚ However, I don’t have a PhD and leave much of my education up to the completion of games on iPhone Apps, so I’ll leave the decisions up to Dr. Kawashima.
Once you have established your brain age, it is time to get to work with Brain Training.‚ This is the mode where players will probably be spending most of their time in. ‚ Brain Training lets players complete three different games per day in order to condition their brain for success in their next Brain Age attempt.
Using the Brain Training mode is a great way for players to learn all of the different games that Brain Exercise has to offer such as: Inverted Numbers, a game in which players must type in which upside-down or backwards number they see on the screen, testing the Parietal lobe of the brain; Rolling Shapes, a game in which players must decide position a shape is lying after its silhouette is rolled, testing the Temporal love; and Add 3, a game in which players must do simple math problems while also adding 3 to the resulting answer, testing the Frontal lobe.
The great thing about Brain Training is that it is able to test more than a single brain region at once by letting players complete multiple games.‚ Brain Training also collects all the data from your attempts and adds it to your progress tracker in your profile.
Brain Exercise is full of extra goodies as well.‚ First, Brain Exercise will keep the casual Sudoku player satisfied with an additional bonus game.‚ Also, players can enjoy a multiplayer experience by using the Challenge function, which allows players to duel their friends by playing a certain game on the same iPhone.‚ Finally, players can also download high scores from around the world and also upload their personal profile to the web.
There are very few negative things to say about Brain Exercise with Dr. Kawashima.‚ Sure, the price might be a little higher than a lot of Apps available for the iPhone.‚ But, given that Brain Exercise is a game that can be used every day, the price is justified.‚ Another potential negative aspect of Brain Exercise is the lack of clarity within the game instructions.‚ The presentation of the instruction screens is great, but it usually takes a run-through or two before a game is fully understood.
Overall, Brain Exercise with Dr. Kawashima is a great App.‚ It is fun, addicting and, most impressively, educational.‚ This is a great release and has already become one of my favorite Apps.
Brain Training with Dr. Kawashima is available in the iTunes App store for $5.99.