“ Manufacturer: Sega / Manufacturer: Sega / Genre: Board and Card / Genre: Educational / ESRB Rating: E - (Everyone) / Max. Number Of Players: 4 / Release Date: Q2, 2008 „
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Brain Assist is an easy to pick up and play strangely addictive DS game filled with a variety of challenges to test mental ability. It is ideally suited to those who enjoy puzzle and brain training games.
The game is designed to focus on strengthening the right half of the brain by challenging the player's memory, concentration, reflexes, deduction and analytical abilities. All mini-games are played using the stylus and can be played wirelessly by up to four players.
After signing in, you are assigned one of four nurses who act as guides to help you through each of the 10 mini games. I like the fact that you have instant access to all of the available games and don't have to complete one to unlock another.
The mini-games included are:
Pi and Thagoras - in this game you are shown a shape on the top screen and using the stylus, you have to choose the pieces displayed on the bottom screen that when put together form that shape. It is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle which initially is very easy, but as you progress through the levels becomes quite tricky.
Count Mania - this game is designed to test your ability to concentrate. Displayed on the bottom screen is a series of different sized bubbles, each containing a number, you have to tap these numbers in sequence to complete the level. Again, each successive level is more challenging and because you are playing against the clock, it is easy to make mistakes.
Character Hunt - the player in this game is required to find a set number of identical symbols from a given array. Played similarly to Mah Jong, identification of the symbols becomes significantly harder as you progress through the levels.
Match Game - the top screen shows you fragments of a road sign or picture and you have to choose which complete picture they would represent from an array of options on the bottom screen.
Spot The Difference - you are presented with two pictures on the top screen and you have to quickly decide whether they are identical or if there is a difference and tap the corresponding button on the bottom screen with the stylus.
Hexagonal Colours - this is a tricky memory game in which you are shown a white honeycomb in which a couple of the hexagons have been coloured. After a few seconds memory time, the honeycomb reverts to its uncoloured format and you have to correctly choose which colour went in which hexagon. This is really tricky at the more advanced levels.
Touch Of Brilliance - designed to test concentration and reflexes, this game shows a series of flashing tiles and the object is to tap on the last one to flash.
Quick Numbers - tests reflexes, observation and intuition. You are required to focus on the top screen where numbers flash past at a given speed, all you have to do is key in the number you saw. This sounds easy and it is at first but when 6 digit numbers are flying by at 200mph it is extremely challenging.
Twirling Cards - using your powers of observation and memory you need to select a card from the bottom screen which is not being momentarily displayed on the top screen.
Scattered Memory - this game requires a photographic memory as you are shown a series of symbols in quick succession, followed by four options from which you have to choose the correct symbols in the correct positions.
In each mini-game you are assigned a fixed number of lives and hints to help you along the way and I can assure you that once you have safely progressed through the first two or three levels, these lives are vital because the games become progressively more difficult demanding faster thinking and sharper reflexes.
Successful completion of each level is rewarded with points which are plotted graphically within your profile so you can view your progress over time.
Although the 10 mini games are addictive and great fun to play, the game as a whole is far from brilliant. The engine of the game is frustratingly slow and it is difficult to resist the urge to keep tapping the screen impatiently with the stylus in a bid to make it hurry up.
The graphics are quite crude and basic and contain the kind of violent colours reminiscent of early 80s Japanese video game imports.
The background music is the most woeful noise I have ever encountered in a video game. It can only be described as a repeated electronically manufactured, synthesiser -like din. To make matters worse it cannot be muted in the game settings menu, so you have to play with the sound switched off on the DS console itself. If you choose to leave the sound on I can guarantee that within a couple of minutes you will have developed a severe headache or will have thrown the console through the window.
I would say the game in its entirity is quite good value for money if you can buy it for under £10 because the 10 mini games are addictive, challenging and quite fun to play. Complete satisfaction is compromised by the slow engine, poor graphics and the dreadful music.