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Brain Challenge

For: Mobile   Also on: DS, iPod

Is it the final answer?

Product: Brain Challenge | Developer: Gameloft | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: Mobile | Genre: Brain training, Casual, Quiz | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 224KB | Reviewed on: D600 other handsets | Network: 3, Easy Mobile, Fresh, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin, Vodafone | Version: Europe
Brain Challenge Mobile, thumbnail 1
We think we've hit on a potential new mobile phone game genre: gameshow trainer. It'd be like a regular brain training game, except it would play annoying little jingles as the time ran out on the exercises and fireworks would play at the end. All before you walk away, disappointed that you didn't get the luxury holiday to the Maldives, but just a branded T-shirt and a mug instead.

Oh, hang on, though: it looks like Gameloft's beaten us to it with Brain Challenge. While it's not actually a gameshow trainer, it feels awfully like one, being by far the flashiest brainer trainer yet in its presentation. Sparkly visuals pulse in and out on the screen and an urgent ditty blasts from your handset's speakers whenever you start or end a game.

It was all a bit much for us, but thankfully you're given the option to disable the sound when you launch it. This means that when you get stuck in you can concentrate solely on the exercises at hand – a good thing seeing as they're tougher than your average brain trainer.

Brain Challenge follows the established brain training format: you create a profile and then take a series of daily tests that put your grey matter through its paces. The tests comprise four exercises, the scores for which are saved and plotted on a graph, enabling you to track your progress.

Nothing out of the ordinary, but where Brain Challenge differs from its peers is in the range and type of exercises that it presents. Focusing on the areas of logic, visual reckoning, memory skills and mathematics, each exercise within an area is quite different from its stablemates', to say nothing of those from a different discipline.

Rather than fall into a repetitive chore whereby all the games in mathematics, for example, closely resemble each other, they're wonderfully varied. Some are basic, requiring you to add the missing number to an equation, while others involve you choosing a path through a numbered grid by adding or subtracting a figure from the one you're currently stood on.

It's all fabulously involving stuff and means that the daily regimen of set tasks is something to look forward to rather than forget about. But if you do forget one day, you can do it twice the next: unlike most other games of this genre, Brain Challenge lets you do more than one daily test per 24 hours and include the results in your overall score.

It'll still be a couple of weeks until you start moving up the scores table, so to speak. Measuring your advancement by the percentage of the brain you've been using (starting at zero), progress is slow and it's never made completely clear what the percentage figure really pertains to.

Still, it's entertaining enough stuff and, if you're a fan of short, sharp puzzles, regardless of whether you're in the market for a brain training game, Brain Challenge will satisfy. And if a brain trainer is exactly what you're after, then there's currently no better on mobile.

It's just a shame that there's no chance of winning a million pounds at the end of it.
Brain Challenge
Reviewer photo
Mike Abolins | 23 October 2006
Something that's good for you and fun? Quickly, someone phone the Health and Safety Executive
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