Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Brain Assist (Nintendo DS) Review

Thanks to Nintendo and their obsession with appealing to casual gamers we've seen a recent influx of 'brain' games. The latest company to throw their hat into the money ring is SEGA with their rather boringly title Brain Assist. Lots of maths, lots of 'spot the difference' puzzles and not a whole lot else. So, is it worth the £20 price tag? Short answer: no. Long answer, read on...

Based on an arcade title from Japan called Touch de Unou, Brain Assist attempts to polish your noggin and leave your thinking bag in top shape. This isn’t SEGA’s first crack at the genre; a year or so ago they released the quite awful Mind Quiz, which we scored 4/10 back in April 2007. A good measuring stick would be to compare this game against that one and the results are fairly tedious. It is still a waste of money.

Things don’t start out well. The translation from Japanese has left this game feeling pretty strange. You are guided through the game by four sisters (nurses) who work for a re-search institute (presumably for brains...). This is all fine and dandy, but when it is simply referred to as ‘The Institute’ for most of the game you start to check your scalp for signs of scarring and stitches. What’s even more worrying (and amusing) is a strange devil/cat woman called Eva who challenges you with harder tests if you perform well in the normal challenges.

The game is split up into ten mini-games. We’ll be nice and list them for you: Pi and Thagoras, Character Hunt, Spot the Difference, Touch of Brilliance, Twirling Cards, Count-Mania, Match Game, Hexagonal Colours, Quick Numbers and Scattered Memory. Each one requires you to almost do exactly what it says on the tin. Which isn’t much. The problem is all these games are painstakingly boring and repetitive and seem to be more adept at testing your ability to stay awake rather than your brain power. All the games involve you tapping a selection on the screen. You only ever tap. Tap, tap, tap. You’ll get bored of tapping quite quickly. Unlike in other (better) brain games, you don’t get to circle or to write or to speak or to do anything other than tap.

Screenshot for Brain Assist on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The visuals are sparse and could easily be done on the GBA and the sound is so irritating and incessantly tinny that you’ll be muting it within a couple of minutes. Whilst games like this never look or sound stunning, there is no excuse for such shoddy presentation. Oh, and the dialogue that plagues the game throughout is tedious, slow and poorly written. We would go on, but you should be getting the idea by now.

You can tackle tasks individually or have a crack at them in evaluation mode which allows you to get your brain skills graded. The game keeps a track of your score over time so you can watch your progress, which is always nice. Aside from this there is also a multiplayer mode, which is hideous. Up to four people can play wirelessly from just one game cartridge, allowing you to test your brain against your mates. For some reason the GBA-style visuals and tinny sound take over thirty seconds to load for each and every minigame you play. This makes the whole experience slow, boring and tedious. A bit like the game in general. It could’ve been good, but it isn’t.

Screenshot for Brain Assist on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

You get to tap, which is always nice, but endless tapping does not a good game maketh, as the old proverb goes.

Graphics

Take a look at Kuri Kuri Kurin on the GBA, that came out yonks ago and that looks better. Enough said.

Sound

It’ll make your ears bleed with sheer pain and anguish.

Value

If you can pick it up for £15 or so we suppose it isn't terrible value, but then again it only had 10 minigames so that's over £1 for a game where you tap numbers in sequence...

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

About this score

Rubbish, utter rubbish. Sloppy development, boring minigames and not enough content to keep anyone entertained for longer than twenty minutes. It does try to make you more intelligent, but at the end of the day it’ll just make you more annoyed...and bored.

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23.03.2008

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Developer

SEGA

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Educational

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

loll, "No one wants this game.".

No Longer Temporarily Banned.

Well duh Smilie

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Sounds pretty atrocious...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
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