Adding to the current brain training craze that has taken gaming by storm, Gameloft’s Brain Challenge has been ported to several consoles including the XBLA, mobile phones, DS, iPhone, and even the N-Gage 2.0. Tailored for the Wii’s unique controller, Brain Challenge is a decent WiiWare title if you have not played any of the other versions.
It is true that this WiiWare version is basically a port, of a port, of a port, but don’t let this knock your confidence. More specifically tweaked from the XBLA version, this $10 WiiWare version has adapted well to Nintendo’s system while adding a couple new features including Mii support.
When you first boot up the game, a sexy doctor will greet and hold the player’s hand throughout the game. In my eyes, this form of presentation is more tolerable than conversing with a creepy floating head. This doctor offers tips and explanations on how to complete the activities spread throughout the game.
Composed of several mini games, Brain Challenge gages how fast and how correctly you answer each question. These two factors determine your overall score throughout five different categories: Focus, Memory, Logic, Math, and Visual. After each session, the doctor plots your progress on a chart that displays how well the player is performing. After each day, the game also keeps track of your overall brain power.
Each of the five categories offer something a little different. Logic tests the player’s reasoning by having the player choose which random icon weighs more. Math has the player adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing several numbers consecutively, turning minds into human calculators. Memory forces players to take note as to which symbol suddenly disappears. Visual mode maps out a path on a grid while the player is tasked to trace this path. Focus mode tests concentration and level of detail but having the player choose which object bounces the highest.
Every category is composed of different mini games, but all are based around using the Wiimote to point and click the correct answer. For the most part, this form of control works, but there were plenty of time when the game didn’t seem to recognize my selection. This was especially apparent in the Visual mode when trying to trace a set path in the shortest amount of time possible. Because the wiimote is free to move wherever the player points, this can easily cause the player to move outside the lines and choose an incorrect answer by accident. This is very taxing since the goal of each game is to perform all tasks as quickly as possible.
The looser wiimote control is amplified slightly during the game’s Stress Mode. Here, the player basically plays all the mini games found in the main mode of play, but adds elements to make the gameplay even more challenging. Bugs crawling over the screen, having the need to constantly shake the wiimote, or blurry answers are a couple ways that the game purposely gets in the way. Yes, it really is more stressful.
Up to four players can compete in the multiplayer mode and there are several challenges to unlock. While there is no WiFi play, there is still enough game to keep coming back from time to time to maintain your mental fitness.
Unfortunately, if you have already played Brain Challenge on another system, you may want to skip over this WiiWare version because it really isn’t anything you have not seen before. However, this Wii port has been created with care by offering wiimote control (although it can be a little shaky) and Mii support. If you are itching to challenge your brain with simple but challenging mini games, investing your 1000 Wii Points might not be a bad idea.