Product Type: Nintendo Nintendo DS games
Newest Review: ... and tracks your daily progress as you play. Everyday, it gives you a pre-set eye workout judging from your current 'eye age'. This is a... more
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Sight Training (DS)
Member Name: Novabug
Sight Training (DS)
Advantages: Enjoyable and entertaining, provokes concentration and reactions. Rewarding to beat your own scores.
Disadvantages: Music can be annoying, stylus not always reactive, not approved to improve your eyes.
Sight Training has a basic set up with a predominantly menu based presentation, bold text and basic shapes. You create a personal profile in one of the four available slots, perform a few adaptations of the included activities to ascertain your 'eye age', and from then on set about improving this score through playing the various games and puzzles. Much like Brain Training, it's set out like a calendar and tracks your daily progress as you play. Everyday, it gives you a pre-set eye workout judging from your current 'eye age'. This is a selection of 4 to 5 games to improve your scores on the 5 parts of vision. These are Hand-Eye Co-ordination, Dynamic Visual Acuity, Momentary Vision, Eye Movement and Peripheral Vision. This is a strict, daily routine according to the game, but you are able to play any activity at will providing you have achieved the level needed to unlock them. Only 17 in total; most people with a degree of decent vision should be able to unlock all of these, it's not all that hard. Once all the games are available and the difficulty level is cranked up, things can get pretty though and challenging. However, the 'eye age' results can be slightly off the mark. My mother of 70, who has only 40% of her natural eyesight, achieved an eye age of 49... Hhhhmm. Needless to say, this score can be taken with a pitch of salt but does provide a target to beat nonetheless. That's the overall goal, to better your scores as it is with any video game. Sight Training likes to tell you your eyesight IS getting better (or worse), and like me you may feel an element of truth to this; however no scientific evidence exists to support this.
For a game that focus' on eyesight skills, you would expect things to be presented in a very clear-cut sharp manner. For the most part it is, with pastel colours offsetting against a light blue/grey background. It's not bright or overly colourful, but provides a user-friendly environment that's clean and tidy. The menus are simple to read and understand, with instructions given for every game. It's a shame that these instructions repeat every time you start a new activity, even though the machine knows you have already played it. Eyesight facts and tips always appear after each game too, and quickly begin to repeat ad nauseam. This gets more annoying because the text takes a while to display each time. This aside, it's all easy to navigate around, choosing your daily eye workout or custom game is a breeze. Of the two sets of activities, core skills and sports, the latter is by far the more enjoyable; providing some nice captured animations and realistic settings to pep things up. The core skills are all presented in a black, green and yellow scheme to keep things clear, but it does look a little dull and un-engaging, far removed from the colourful screens of Big Brian Academy or the Professor Layton series. If anything, staring at the same colours constantly puts more strain on the ol' peepers out of sheer blandness. The rest of the graphics are all rather standard, nothing original save for a nice 8-bit style blocky character that accompanies each game. It's the same story with the audio. The usual inoffensive bleeps, clicks and chimes are there to highlight every menu hit or correct answer, the sports games have some decent lifelike samples but I cannot ignore the menu screens' overlaying tune that becomes very irritating. Eventually, you learn to block this music out.
In actuality, all the activities are well designed and enjoyable to play. A few are far too simple; such as the basketball task or box tap, and others are a bit temperamental with the accuracy of the stylus. Both the football games being the worst offenders. That said, it is rewarding to beat your own targets and to improve more on your eye age score, you get a feeling that you are doing good for yourself and thusly this can be quite gratifying. Some of the games like the boxing, number flash and number tap are very addictive, and can be more of an enjoyable challenge. Unfortunately, because of the strict parameters of judging the eye age score, all games can only be played once in a 24 hour period. You can repeat them, but any score achieved will be ignored by the system. This makes the time frame in each day very limited, I would say about 30 minutes to get thought all 17 games of play to enhance your score. The sports games are able to be played in the separate option, but I would have liked a way to have a separate score table that records all the games scores. It would have given more life and attention per day so to speak.
Sight Training is like the little cast-out brother of Brain Training, wanting to be as subversive but not delivering with the technicalities. The various activities are fine for the most part, but it's those little annoyances that make you want to put it down after a few days and pick up something with more grab-factor. On a personal level, despite the lack of proven research, I have found a slight improvement in my eye movement whilst playing other titles, this I attribute to Sight Training somewhat, as it as helpfully told me on numerous occasions. Not completely useless then and an enjoyable title for casual short stints, but flawed in parts. Not 20/20 vision, but not in need of the bifocals either.
Graphics - 6/10
Thanks for Reading © Novabug (This review is also published on The Pixel Empire with full permission)
Summary: A solid casual DS title, but not spectacular.
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