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Nintendo DS Review: Mega Brain Boost

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The DS has become a breeding ground for newer genres, including the ever-popular brain-training genre of games. Nintendo started the whole thing off with Brain Age and Big Brain Academy and thus encouraged third-party developers to try and copy them. The result, as expected, is a flood of brain-training games to the DS, including Majesco’s latest title, Mega Brain Boost.

If Nintendo is the King Kong, or should I say, Donkey Kong of brain-training games, then Mega Brain Boost is Mario in the hands of an eight-year-old child; sometimes, it works, but most of the time, it’s nothing worthwhile.

That’s not to say Majesco’s brain-training compilation is a failure. The problem with Mega Brain Boost is that it’s so much of what we’ve seen before, but lacks a few features that Brain Age and Big Brain Academy have.

So here’s the deal: Mega Brain Boost is Brain Boost Gamma Wave and Brain Boost Beta Wave merged with five new games, giving you fifteen games overall. Like all good brain-training games, there’s a famous Japanese scientist behind it somehow. In this case, it’s Dr. Makoto Shichida, a world-renowned researcher in early childhood education.

I can sum up the game’s look and sound for you in one word: simple. Obviously, since this is geared toward the casual crowd, there’s no need for fancy 3-D graphics or orchestrated soundtracks. Instead, what you get is something as visually and audibly intense as a basic flash game you might make in high school or an intro to programming class in college.

Most of the games here are similar to those you’ve seen in other brain-trainers: matching pictures, remembering chains of numbers and sequences and counting money all make appearances this time around. However, there are a few new mini-games, including one where you must find the right kanji, which offer different twists and challenges. Like Big Brain Academy, the mini-games all have different levels and get harder as you get more answers right.

On the downside, multiplayer is present in Mega Brain Boost, but requires everyone to have a copy of the game in order to play, a far cry from Big Brain Academy’s set-up. Likewise, while Big Brain Academy has separate test and practice modes, there’s no such designation here. Each game is a test within itself, but there’s no real overall ranking system, just how well you do in the individual games.

Mega Brain Boost is a mixed bag, offering some new mini-games, but really, it’s just more of the same old crap. If you really, really like Big Brain Academy and must have more of the same, then this might be for you. Otherwise, it’s not exactly a must-have, especially if you already have Big Brain Academy for your DS.

Pros: Offers some new twists on the old brain-training games.

Cons: Lacks a real test mode like Big Brain Academy. Multiplayer requires all players to have a copy of the game.

Mega Brain Boost is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.


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About Brian Szabelski

  • Revathi Sankaran

    right brain education through games is a good approach…

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