Product Type: Nintendo Nintendo DS games
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Training Your Brain
Dr Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain (DS)
Member Name: Meggysmum
Dr Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain (DS)
Advantages: Keeps you thinking.
Disadvantages: Gets boring after a while
When I was bought my Nintendo DS a few years ago it came as a bundle with the Brain Training game but the game is still available to buy new for about Ł15.
The game is used under the premise that keeping your mind active and well exercised is important to good brain function both now and in the future.
Starting The Game
On beginning the game it is necessary to fill in a few details about yourself and you sign yourself into a game slot. The game can hold information for 4 different people and it sometimes compares your behaviour to that of other players.
You begin the game with a Brain Age check. This is done by completing three random games, some are spoken and some are completed by using the touch screen. I found some of these tricky as it takes a while to get the hang of writing numbers in such a way that the DS always recognises the correct numeral. I also find it seemed to have trouble when I said the word "Blue", I do not have a particularly strong accent and it had no trouble with any other colour but Blue always seems to cause trouble. You could always tell when someone in the house was using the game as you would hear the word Blue being shouted louder and louder until it got recognised.
When you first begin the game there are only a few training games available to you, I have played this on and off for a few years so I am trying to remember which games appeared first. I think it was Calculationsx20, Reading Aloud and Low to High. As you clock up more days on the game and achieve required scores the you have access to more games.
Calculationsx20 brings up a list of basic maths questions on the left screen and you have to write the results on the right screen. I like maths and enjoyed this game but it took me a while to work out exactly how to write the figures so that they were recognised correctly, it was quite frustrating until I got the hang of this. The next level is Calculations x100 which is the same level of difficulty at first but a lot more questions. I found that doing this regularly really helped me to remember my Timetables which I had mainly forgotten.
Reading Aloud was probably my least favourite game. It brings up a random passage from a book and you are supposed to read it as fast as you can out loud and then press stop when you have finished. I found this boring as the texts were really rather odd and I couldn't see the point of gabbling words out without thinking about their meaning. I never choose to play this game now I have other ones I can play instead.
Low to High is a tricky game that requires you to look at a pattern of numbers on the left screen which appears very quickly and then click the blank right screen following the number order that you have memorised. My daughter always excels at this one and I always struggle as the numbers appear and disappear so quickly.
Syllable Count is one of my favourites. Sentences appear and you have to count the syllables and write the answer as quickly as possible as, trickier than it sounds!
Head Count is a fun game that becomes trickier the more advanced that you get. You see figures entering and leaving a little house and you have to say how many are left at the end of the sequence, it is a bit like the old pub game of watching the balls under the cups and it is very easy to get confused with the rapid mental arithmetic.
Triangle Math can be completed on Normal or Hard mode and is a basic maths game where you keep adding a pyramid of numbers until you get to a total. Since I enjoy maths I like playing this one too.
Time Lapse is a clever little game which shows you two clocks and you have to work out how many hours and minutes have elapsed between the two times. This is much harder than it looks and really gets the grey matter working.
Voice Calculation is a basic maths game but you have to speak the answers out loud. The idea is fine but it does suffer from the basic problem that the voice recognition isn't perfect so it can be a trifle frustrating.
Every day that you go on and complete at least one game you get to stamp the date on the calendar on the game. Once you have completed a set number of stamps you can design your own stamp to use in future. It is nice to see the number of stamped days building up.
After each game you get a scoreboard of your three best results and also a graph that plots your development over a period of time, this can be a good incentive as improvements can be seen quite quickly.
When you log into your game sometimes you will be asked a question such as what you had for dinner or what was the top news story that day. Several days later when you log in again it will ask you to try to remember your answer to try to help your powers of recall.
Occasionally you will be asked to draw a selection of pictures. Since I have the artistic prowess of a 3 year old I particularly hate this as when it pops up. It is quite difficult for me to produce anything that looks like Sphinx or Henry VIII on demand and the shame is compounded when one of my family members logs on and they get to compare their pictures to mine!
The Brain Training game also lets you access Sudoku games as an extra feature. I like doing these puzzles so this is a nice extra for me as you can just pick it up and play this game without going into the Training function.
Would I Recommend It?
I enjoy playing this game but it is certainly not suitable for anyone who wants excitement. I am very much a geek and love Maths so those parts of the game are definitely my favourite but I imagine that many people would hate them. I would certainly say that when I use this regularly I definitely feel that I can add-up quicker, my brain definitely feels quite kick-started but I don't think the effects are very long lasting. It is nice to do another Brain Age check occasionally and see the number fall.
I would have liked there to be a larger variety of games and for them not to have been unlocked as quickly as there were no more challenges to work towards. I tend to play the game regularly for a while then get bored and put it away and then drag it out again after a few months and thoroughly enjoy playing it again.
The graphics on this game are exceedingly basic and functional, there are no exciting frills.
People who enjoy puzzles will probably enjoy playing this and the Sudoku is handy too so I would certainly recommend it if that is your sort of thing.
Summary: An ok game to play for a while then re-discover!
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