Mind Quiz: Your Brain Coach (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 18.03.2007 4

With the Brain Training craze still sweeping the world even a year after the first Dr. Kawashima game launched in the West and hit Japan back in 2005, we have had the likes of 505 Games release the Brain Wave duo and even seen Sega release its own version in Japan on both the PSP and DS, the latter of which is now being brought to Europe by Ubisoft very soon. After the PSP version failed to set Europe alight, does the DS game deserve to do any better? And what can we expect from this effort? That is what we are about to find out...

Long before the start of the Japanese "Brain Boom", ten years to be a bit more precise, Dr. Kajimoto (a pioneer of Ageing Brain studies) began research to develop a machine called an ATMT (Advanced Trail Making Test) that measures how a brain ages. In May 2005, the month Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training launched for the DS in Japan, it was released for medical purposes to be used in hospitals, rehabilitation centres and, conveniently enough, many family homes and included over 10,000 pieces of sample data, as well as important research information. The actual idea of Trail Making Testing arose many years before, though, in the 1950s amongst medical circles. To carry it out, numbers are traced out starting at one and going up to twenty-five. The idea of ATMT is a progression of this testing procedure, working as a quantitative diagnosis system that can measure brain fatigue and even dementia! Now these ideas have been transplanted onto the DS, along with 1,000 extra samples of data added into the package.

Screenshot for Mind Quiz: Your Brain Coach on Nintendo DS

Originally released in May of last year by Sega as No Nenrei No Stress Kei Atama Scan (Atama meaning 'head' or 'brain'), the game failed to spark a lot of interest, barely selling 100,000 units overall in the face of the ubiquitous duo of Brain Training and More Brain Training. The game's development was supervised by Dr. Kajimoto to ensure the ATMT methods were implemented in the most efficient manner, with the aim to improve the ability of people's brains. Despite the lack of success in Japan, though, as Ubisoft states, there is definitely an audience out there for such products at the moment, with over 660,000 units of Brain Training sold in the US so far and 210,000 specifically attributed to the UK market. That is in addition to the three million plus the original Brain Training has sold in Japan! As for Big Brain Academy, 390,000 copies have been sold in the US, 70,000 in the UK and over 1,300,000 in Japan.

Mind Quiz measures your brain's age and stress degree based on the scientific research that has previously been undertaken. Your degree of 'Quick Mind', 'Brain Utilisation', 'Brain Alertness' and 'Mind Activation' can also be measured via fourteen training exercises, which includes features that are unlocked the more you play. The programme also includes several functions, such as a Calendar, Recommendations, Result Charts and Multiple Play. Mind Quiz actually differs from past brain devices, however, by not being dependent on academic ability and is developed using scientific research.

Screenshot for Mind Quiz: Your Brain Coach on Nintendo DS

As for the exercises themselves, one such example is similar to one that has been seen before in Brain Training. Users must touch numbers on the screen and letters of the alphabet in such a fashion that you tap 1, then A, then 2, then B and so on, which lets the programme calculate your memory's downward tendency and information-handling ability. If we break down the four main categories as well, we can take a closer look at what is on offer. For the Brain Alertness section there are tasks that test pinpoint precision, simple calculations, reflexes and precise transfer. With these you will be faced with the likes of various questions that need the answer to be written on the lower screen; hitting dogs in a whack-a-mole type sub-game; and sliding dogs around the screen to collect falling bones.

Brain Utilisation is comprised of dot composition, colouring, slot machine and picture sorting. In this instance you will have to do things like complete five drawings on the lower screen so they match their upper screen counterparts; finish colouring ten images that appear on the upper screen; win a jackpot five times; and complete five puzzles

Screenshot for Mind Quiz: Your Brain Coach on Nintendo DS

Finally there is the Mind Activation tool, which consists of breaking sheets of glass, floating balloons, arrival projection and rhythm memory. This time round tasks include breaking glass before it hits the ground and slaughters the dog; blowing into the microphone to float a balloon; catching a falling dog on a moon-less night by predicting where it will land; and memorising the order and rhythm of between two and six dogs that are barking. So clearly you can see there is a LOT on offer, but the question remains will it prove to be as addictive as Brain Training was (and still is in some cases). Well, from what has been shown so far it definitely looks like giving it a good run for its money!

Screenshot for Mind Quiz: Your Brain Coach on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

With Brain Training still regularly hitting the Top 10 over here in the UK and even Big Brain Academy bouncing up and down the charts, if Ubisoft can market Mind Quiz well enough it could have a major hit on its hands. With all that is on offer it certainly sounds like a good prospect indeed









C3 Score

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European release date 23.03.2007   North America release date TBA   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date TBA   


280,000 Brain Freaks in Britain then....

Mike Gee of iZINE said, "...The Verve, as he [Richard Ashcroft] promised, had become the greatest band in the world. Most of the critics agreed with him. Most paid due homage. The Verve were no longer the question mark or the clichť. They were the statement and the definition."

Yup, not quite as big as in Germany, where 400,000 copies of Brain Training alone have been sold so far, though.

Can Ubisoft get this game over to the same crowd, though? We'll find out next Monday I think...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I can't see this dislodging the much-publicised Brain Training from its spot. Nice work, Adam!

The little man looks like a condom with a brain sticking out the top of it.

I can't belive how much this rips-off the Brain Training franchise. Even the games are exact replicates from Brain Training.

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