Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Nintendo's success with the Brain Training games (as well as its other takes on the educational genre: Cooking Guide, Maths Training and English Training) has paved the way for other companies to jump on the bandwagon as quickly and as regularly as possible, with new titles appearing with such frequency it is becoming hard to keep track of them all. Now a new game by the name of 'Challenge Me' has arrived, how does it stack up?

Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles in name alone will sound to most people as if it is one of the multi-style products that bundles various sub-par brain teasing efforts into one cheap package. However, it is in fact two very familiar games in one: Picross and Sudoku, and is quite a pleasing little product. Brain Puzzles has no fancy introduction sequences or odd looking characters to guide you through the gameplay aspect - it is purely about getting the gamer straight into the thick of the action. Players are encouraged to challenge themselves by working through the large supply of puzzles on offer, pushing themselves to beat previous best completion times as well as increase their inputting accuracy to update the in-game graphs that supposedly show how active your brain is. For those that do not want to bother with that aspect, though, it is also possible to merely dive right into the various Sudoku and Picross puzzles on offer, taking your time and relaxing, exactly the way people like to do whilst travelling to and from work, or when relaxing at home. Unfortunately there are no multiplayer options for adding the sort of competitive edge that adds longevity to a game such as this, yet there are 500 Picross and 500 Sudoku teasers on offer, all of rapidly increasing difficulty, meaning there should be plenty to keep people busy.

Screenshot for Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

For those that have somehow missed out on both these age-old puzzle types, Sudoku throws up a grid split into nine blocks, each of which contains nine smaller squares. The aim is to populate each of the main blocks with numbers 1-to-9 whilst ensuring there is no repetition of numbers in every horizontal row and vertical column, as well as in the main blocks. As for the mode that features a mixture of Picross and Colour Cross, it is a game based on the logic of numbers. Players are tasked with matching up the numbers listed along the top of the on-screen grid with the ones shown down the side, matching them according to both their respective colour and length. Once all the appropriate grid squares have been filled in, a picture is formed. For clarity's sake, should the grid be five squares both vertically and horizontally, with the first two and last two columns having a number '5' above them, this would mean all five squares in those columns would be coloured in, whilst the third column is left blank. If down the side there are five number '1's in a different colour, the only spaces left to fill would be the empty squares in column three, meaning these would be filled in with the new colour. The basic idea is amazingly simple once practiced, yet as the puzzles grow in complexity, hair loss may be a resulting factor due to stress!

When it comes to inputting numbers, stylus control is very important for accuracy purposes, especially given how this specific game will mark you down for even the slightest mistake. This is when Challenge Me falls down slightly, since there are instances where the game does not recognise which square has been tapped; in Sudoku this is not too much of an issue as there is another step before numbers are finalised, yet it can be quite an annoyance in Picross if a square is coloured in by accident whilst filling in large sectors of a grid in one fell swoop and the mistake is not noticed until towards the end of the puzzle, at which point it can cause much head-scratching and frowning as you try to work out where exactly you have gone wrong. The screen layout does not help too much either, with the DS turned on its side (as with Brain Training) not working as well as it has done in the past with the main focal point being the right-hand screen where the touch input takes place, meaning the main action on the left-hand side is hard to concentrate on in some cases. Yet on the whole if the user can overlook these troublesome niggles, Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles is yet another fine addition to the brain-training genre…

Screenshot for Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

In principle neither the Picross nor Sudoku games can be faulted since they are both tried-and-tested puzzle classics. However, stylus inputting issues and awkward split-screen usage can cause some unnecessary frustration to creep in.

Graphics

Extremely basic visuals that merely serve the purpose of showing the in-game action.

Sound

Hardly any music and what IS there is non-descript to say the least.

Value

With 500 puzzles of each type included, there is definitely plenty to keep players busy. However, the lack of downloadable extras and multiplayer seems like quite an oversight.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles never pretends to be anything more than a bare-bones package offering up a wealth of Picross and Sudoku puzzles, which definitely works in its favour, as gamers know exactly what they are getting - 1,000 brain-taxing teasers to help wile the time away, whilst flexing that oh-so-important muscle, the brain. A few minor control issues drag it down a bit, but the positives far out-weigh the drawbacks.

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08.04.2009

4

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Developer

Oxygen

Publisher

Oxygen

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (3 Votes)

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

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Another day, another brain game...it's so difficult to weed out which ones are good and which are terrible. Glad this one turned out okay, nice one Adam. Bodes well for the maths version that's also coming out.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Exactly - I took one look at this and really didn't want to touch it...but I'm glad I did, since I love Picross and Sudoku, so it turned out to be great fun, despite the developers attempts at putting me off with the dodgy stylus recognition!

This seems to be doing quite well in the DS budget chart over here, which is nice to see. I've no idea when the maths version's out, but since I enjoyed Prof. Kageyama's Maths Training, I'm definitely looking forward to that...as well as 'Brain Age Express: Math' (as it's called on DSiWare in the US).

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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