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iPod  header logo

Brain Challenge

For: iPod   Also on: DS, Mobile

Now iPod owners can be clever too

Product: Brain Challenge | Developer: Gameloft | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: iPod | Genre: Brain training, Casual, Quiz | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Brain Challenge iPod, thumbnail 1
While all the assorted handheld formats - DS, PSP and mobile - are sinking up to the very tops of their screens in brain training games, Gameloft's Brain Challenge is the first of its genre to hit iPod.

You don't have to be the next Stephen Fry to work out this is probably a temporary situation - these games breed quicker than rabbits on Viagra. However, for the time-being Brain Challenge isn't the smart choice for iPod owners wanting to exercise their grey matter, it's the only choice. Lucky then that Brain Challenge is as competent a brain training game as you could hope for.

The game begins its test of your intelligence by asking if you'd prefer to be trained by a lovely blond lady called Dr Hurley or the young George Clooney-esque Professor Stevens. Seeing as sticking to the game's prescribed daily workouts means you'll be seeing a lot of this character, you're advised to choose wisely. However, in our experience you're likely to go off them pretty quickly either way when they're informing you, "Your score is not that good" for the fourth day in a row.

This Daily Test score is what the game revolves around. It consists of a random selection of games from Brain Challenge's various categories such as maths, logic and concentration. Following its completion, you're awarded a percentage score which indicates how much of your brain you're currently using. This score can be broken down into various performance statistics and bar graphs and your doctor advises throughout on your strengths and weaknesses.

At any point you can go into the Training Room and practice the  different exercises in order to improve your Daily Test score. There are 20 games in total, all of which are largely both enjoyable and challenging to play and clearly require a bit of brain effort.

There's a game with simple sums where you have to fill in the missing number, one in which you memorise a sequence of patterns then answer questions on it, and one where you work out what a shape would look like if it was mirrored.

There are also a few duff examples, but the only real issue with Brain Challenge is that the mini-games involve two distinct control methods, one of which is vastly better than the other.

For example, in most of the grid-based games you simply touch up, down, left and right on the iPod wheel to highlight a square, then press the centre button to select it. But in the games where you need to choose an answer from a line, you scroll with the wheel from left to right. Because it can take a precious second or two to do, many of our answers were registered as 'slow' which felt a bit unfair as it was the wheel and not our brain holding us up.

Aside from the game, as you might expect, there are more musical tracks on this iPod version than on the mobile version. They're not exactly toe-tapping but are pleasant and innocuous enough not to intrude when you're concentrating. They work particularly well in the Creativity section of game, which houses mini-games you've unlocked by completing enough brain workouts. These games are reminiscent of DS game Electroplankton and are apparently there to relax you. So you can sit back and watch light displays and listen to windchime-esque noises as you prepare to confront Professor Stevens again and have him tell you your brain is like a 74 year olds.

Still, at £3.99 for the download, it's almost a no-brainer to recommend Brain Challenge. It's enjoyable, invigorating and there's a remarkable amount in it. The inevitable hoards of iPod brain training contenders due shortly will need to be brainiacs to outsmart it.
Brain Challenge
Reviewer photo
Kath Brice | 24 January 2008
Brain Challenge smartly presents 20 fun and challenging games to train your brain and there are unlockable relaxation games to work towards too
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