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Publisher: Gameloft    Genre: Miscellaneous
Min OS X: Any Version


Brain Challenge (iPod)
March 6, 2008 | John Samsel


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Reviewing my second iPod game made me recall Electronic Gaming Monthly’s April Fool’s prank from 2006 advertising the upcoming iGame, a hybrid iPod/Portable gaming device. It was boasted to compete with the Nintendo DS and Playstation Portable but have the obvious advantage of iPod functionality. Games were going to be sold through the iTunes Music Store, and the whole point was to make portable gaming mainstream. Of course, as I mentioned, this was a joke. A few months later, the iTunes store offered its first batch of games for the iPod. Slowly, more and more games have been released. The selection is hardly what that joke promised, nor was this service meant to be, but the point is that the iPod is now a phenomenal music player that happens to have a respectable games library. And here is another one worth adding to it, Gameloft’s Brain Challenge.

Brain Challenge is yet another game in the growing genre of casual brain games. While that could sound a little harsh, it is not meant to be at all. In fact, Brain Challenge does quite a few things right and has a polish that other games of this type lack. First, it offers a great variety of test, which is expected. Second, it has a progress report that details strengths and weakness based on your performance, something that should be expected from games like this.

Mind Games
Brain Challenge offers a fantastic variety of games in the categories of Focus, Logic, Math, Memory and Visual to evaluate your total brain use by percentage. Now, if you played any brain game before (such as Brain Age, Big Brain Academy for the DS,) you have played portions of Brain Challenge. There is a great deal of original tests as well, at least ones that I personally have not played before.

A few examples include math, where you solve basic algebra by selecting the correct number to complete the equation. Another is determining which objects weighs the most, based on the visual clues and logic given. One I have never encountered before is the bouncing ball, where you have to pick put which ball has the most bounce. This is quite simple at first, but gets challenging as more and more balls get thrown in (sorry, there really is no other way to say that…) and the height difference comes down to a matter of pixels. I cannot write this review without mentioning the most original and oddest test yet, a visual memory game where you have to find a ninja. On the one hand, bravo to making this test unique. Instead of finding a puppy or some type of animal, you must find a ninja! But on the other, this test should be impossible because, who can find a ninja? Seriously, I should have scored nothing for that portion, but hey, it is only a game, right?

Rounding the games off, there are unlockable Creativity Games, which are simple exercises, designed to relax you, not pressure you. This is another plus for the game, because really all work and no play mean low brain use. Each standard game lasts for 50 seconds when played in the daily mode, or for 90 seconds in the training mode with three difficulty options (easy, medium, or hard.) Creativity games have no time limit to them.

Visual Aides/Audio Cues
The audio and visuals are what you should expect from a game like this. Again, that is meant as a great thing. The audio does not distract at all, and sound effects can be turned off. Visually, everything is simple with occasional moments of flashiness. Again, this will not distract from the tests and allows you to give them your full attention.

Other than a few derivative games, Brain Challenge has no major faults to its game. It just does what it does extremely well. Standard complaints need apply for this iPod game, being that the game can drain your battery depending on the condition of your iPod. It really is meant to be played in short bursts daily, so that should not tax your battery too much. This really is a no-brainer. (Ugh, I guess that’s my one pun quota…) Take a break from your music and movies and give your noggin a work out.

Pros
• Again, a great game for $5.00
• Detailed info to track you personal progress
• Many different games to challenge you…

Cons
• …And some you may have played before
• And the game will drain your battery



Brain Challenge (iPod) (add to watch list)
Publisher: Gameloft (add to watch list)
Buy Brain Challenge (iPod) now at MacGameStore.com




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