Did you know a new Brain Age came out in February?

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When the first Brian Age came out for the Nintendo DS it started a trend of “brain training” and other “non-games” that reached so far I started to see shady internet ads ripping off of it. It had become a “thing” outside of the normal realm of video games. And yet, the 3DS sequel seems to have come and gone with barely any attention, similar to the 3DS edition of Nintendogs before it.

For some reason I decided to stick with the game despite its lack of attention and fairly demanding format, which is the reason I’ve waited two months  to write about it. Overall it has the right idea in trying to push the player harder than the previous DS Brian Age games but in my opinion makes at least one major stumble.

The thing with Brain Age Concentration Training is that it tries to force you to play it daily for some 40 days before you have access to all its activities (I personally don’t remember the previous games doing this but I can’t check). I guess this does get you to commit to the game daily for a while, but there are other ways to do this that might have been more effective.

The activities themselves are pretty varied, and the main attraction — “Devilish Training,” manages to be far more difficult than anything in the previous Brain Age games. Doing speed math problems was a fun idea for the original Brian Age, having to remember two at a time feels legitimately rigorous. If little else, Concentration Training does constantly give me the feeling that my brain is getting a good workout.

The supplemental and regular brain training games include some fun new additions too. One of my favorites is “Block Head” where you basically figure out how to conquer squares on a board before your CPU opponent. It feels like, with a little development, it could been a neat tabletop game of its own.

My main issue with Concentration Training though is how it doesn’t quite have enough structure to keep players committed every time they turn on the game. I have to commend how Concentration Training keeps a constant eye on your difficulty level, raising and lowering it depending on your performance instead of letting you set it yourself. The issue is how it doesn’t really reign in which games you play each day.

It’d be nice if Concentration Training had something like a regiment system to ensure you play a certain set of activities each day, or perhaps just required you to play multiple activities for each day to count. All you actually have to do though is load your save file once a day in order to actually unlock all the content. As soon as I unlocked solitaire (yes this game includes a vanilla edition of solitaire) that’s pretty much what I did almost every day I played Concentration Training. I’ll admit that I got a lot better at solitaire by doing so, especially since this edition of it doesn’t highlight matching cards, but I feel like I wasn’t being encouraged enough to engage in the other activities.

If you’re actually committed to brain training games then Concentration Training really does feel like a level up in terms of the variety of the activities and their difficulty. I just wish it went a little further structurally

What shocks me the most is how the general populace and even a lot of gamers didn’t really notice this game’s release at all after its predecessors sold so much. A lot of people don’t even realize that a Wii U version of Wii Fit is supposed to come out this spring (or summer). If that game suffers the same fate then it’ll be evident that something has definitely changed in the market since the last generation of Nintendo hardware.

BULLETS:

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One thought on “Did you know a new Brain Age came out in February?

  1. […] and Nintendoland didn’t become the killer app Wii Sports was. Even the 3DS versions of games like Brain Age and Nintendogs went by completely unnoticed compared to their explosively successful DS […]

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