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Brain Age 2

Once again, it is time to rummage around our hollow craniums to rediscover that large hunk of grey matter that we call a brain. Brain Age 2 has (finally) arrived on local shores and just like the first brain training non-game that took the world by storm, this whole new selection of mental workouts seeks to push all of our IQs up by a couple of notches, or more.

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Whereas the first Brain Age had a heavy focus on number-crunching, Brain Age 2 has a much more varied repertoire of exercises. Math-based problems are still here though, with Missing Symbols requiring you to fill in the missing operations to make an equation read correctly and Correct Change asking you to give the customer the (you guessed it) correct change for their purchases. Language activities are much tougher than before, with Word Scramble tasking you with unscrambling a word from a set of rotating letters that only serves to confuse even more and Word Blend requiring you to write down what a spoken word is – very difficult when three voices are talking to you all at once!

To round off the already sound training programs mentioned (and there’s still a few more that I won’t spoil for you), there’s also Masterpiece Recital that tests your sight-reading skills with a section of a piano keyboard that you’ll have to tap out in time to the notes displayed. Although non-musicians will go through quite a learning curve with this one, rest assured that you don’t need to be a modern Mozart to glean the improvements in reaction-time that this exercise was designed for. In fact, many of the training programs here are a significant step-up from the original Brain Age, so don’t be surprised if it takes a while to hit the optimal Brain Age score of 20.

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In case you were wondering…Yes, you don’t have to say “blue” anymore. Unfortunately, “paper” is essentially the new frickin’ “blue” in this writer’s opinion!However, practice makes perfect, and this popular saying holds true in Brain Age 2. The more you train with it, the more improvement you will see in all the faculties associated with ‘braininess’ – accuracy, alertness, analysis, etc. I wouldn’t go as far to say that you’ll totally nail your next exam or pass all of your job interviews thereafter, but I can personally vouch for improved concentration (and caffeine-free too!)

Sudoku makes a welcome return again, this time joined by another stress-release mini-game in the form of Germ Buster: a touch-screen take on the classic Nintendo puzzler, Dr. Mario, where you’ll have to drag and drop falling dual-coloured capsules onto pesky bugs of various colours; match three or more colours in a row and you obliterate the stack. Great for warming up/down your brain!

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If you’ve played the first Brain Age title (and according to statistics, if you own a DS you’re about 90% likely to have done so), enjoyed it, but have since grown bored of it, then it’s a no-brainer that Brain Age 2 is the perfect solution to get your prefrontal cortex running smoothly once more. With full statistical tracking back and a whole host of newer, more interesting, and more challenging activities, more brain training with Dr. Kawashima has never been more appealing.

8 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in May 2007.

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