Brain Age 2

Brain Age 2

Well, if you have someone close and dear to you like this, show him or her Brain Age 2.

Same thing, different game

There are more than a few people who have griped about how Brain Age 2 is simply the same type of game just wrapped up in different types of mini-games. Of course, these are the same people who praised Wario Ware on the Wii, so their creditability is already shot. Essentially, Brain Age 2 is the same game with different mini-games, but I ask this question to you, “So?”

The original formula of Brain Age worked like a charm. For those fans out there who loved and praised the first, you can see why Nintendo didn’t change what they were shooting for. If you had a formula of gameplay that worked, would you adjust it? I wouldn’t. Sometimes change is good, but if Nintendo would have changed anything in Brain Age 2 then the game might have been ruined. Some of the things that Nintendo brought in the first Brain Age were doing basic mathematics, they changed this up a bit to where you would get the all numbers involved in the equation, but you would have to figure out if you multiplied, subtracted, added or divided the numbers to get the final. It’s really quite easy, very simple stuff.

As for additional modes of play, you have a nice endless supply of Sudoku (it does end, just doesn’t feel like it), which is great for the Sudoku junkies in the family (like my wife). The Daily Training is essentially the same and the quick play is the same. The one new game that they’ve added, which is just a hoot, is the piano game which has notes laid out for you and you have to tap the correct one (with your stylus) to keep the beat going. It makes you want to play the piano, in the worse way.

So if everything is the same are there any downers? I have to say there is a bit of a downer. I can’t get the mic to recognize my voice. Now, I’m not sure if it’s me or if it’s the mic, but regardless, when I do a Brain Age check I have to go with the option of ‘I Can’t Speak’. As much as I like being a mute in the world it does pain me a bit not being able to play the ‘Rock/Paper/Scissors’ game during the Brain Age check.

Another quip that I just can’t let go, and I know this existed in the first Brain Age is the fact you have to wait an entire 24 hours to move on. It’s probably me, but I want more! I want it quickly! I respect that this is probably the best way to play the game, but it’s frustrating waiting to go head-to-head against my foe/love after she beats the tar out of me. This isn’t a big complaint, but we live in the ‘instant gratification’ age and I want it now! (song from Willy Wonk and the Chocolate Factory).

Aside from this, the game looks and feels the exact same way as Brain Age, which isn’t a bad thing. The graphics don’t have to change much, but I’m glad the games did. I wouldn’t trade this formula for the world, I think it works and it’s perfect just the way it is.

There can only be one, unless there are two

The competitive nature of the game is the reason why it may be a good bridge between yourself or your girlfriend/boyfriend. Generally, when my wife comes downstairs and spies me playing the 360 or the Wii, she just trots back upstairs and makes some comment about me hogging the television (which I do). When we got in Brain Age 2 the story became different. From day to day, she’ll be the one hogging the DS and urging me to keep up with her on the daily gameplay. It’s like she wants to beat me, which she does quite handedly. Right now, she’s a 23 and I’m a 27.

Because there are so many elements in the game that make this competitive, such as the actual high scores at the end of each game, it’s tough not to get into this game. It’s so much better when you’ve got someone to compete against. There are even moments in the game where you are asked to draw something (it gives you the word to draw) and the other person has to figure out what it is. It’s quite brilliant when it comes to two-player mode.

As far as ‘download’ goes. Much like the first, Brain Age 2 just doesn’t bring enough via WiF. I wish this was truly a WiFi mode where we could actually take on people from state to state or country to country, but I would have a feeling that Nintendo is just trying to keep us from embarrassing ourselves when it comes to playing Japan. For that, I thank them.

Final Thoughts

So, I know this review is a tad short, I apologize. I’m still shaking the rust off of the sabbatical that I took in March. I digress though, Brain Age 2 is a fabulous game. Like the original, I think there are some lacking areas, maybe it’s not for everyone – especially for a real gaming guru, but if you’re looking for something that will occupy that plane ride, that trip across the country via bus/truck/car then this might be the game to bring along. This is especially nice when your significant other doesn’t want to watch you destroy things on the big TV all the time. As with the Wii philosophy, it’s never too late to be a gamer, you just have to find the right game. Brain Age 2 might be the right game for the gamer in all of us.