Brain Challenge is a mental exercise video game similar to Big Brain Academy, featuring "brain exercise puzzles". The game was developed by GameLoft for mobile phones and iPods and released on September 5, 2007. It was followed by a Nintendo DS version on January 8, 2008, an Xbox Live Arcade release on March 12, 2008, and a PlayStation 3 launch on November 27, 2008. The N-Gage 2.0 version was released on the day of the service's launch, April 3, 2008. A version for WiiWare was released in Japan on October 14, 2008, in Europe on November 7, 2008 and in North America on November 10, 2008. The Wii version also uses Miis for the players profile.
The game is also structured like Big Brain Academy in that puzzles are divided into four separate categories: Logic, Math, Visual, and Focus; the Xbox Live Arcade version, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii and Nintendo DS add a fifth category, Memory. The puzzles can be played at three difficulty levels, and more complex puzzles are unlocked through a player's progression through the game.
Many of the puzzles are similar to those from both Big Brain Academy and Brain Age. For example, Balance shows different objects on scales, and the player must determine from the relationships on the scales which is the heaviest object. In the Trout Route test, the player must follow a path based on the progressive numerical relationship given (i.e. +2, -3, etc.) Travelling requires the player to memorize a route of arrows, while Ascending has the player determining the order of a group of objects from least to most in amount. Bouncing Ball has the player determining as quick as possible which ball bounces highest.
The game features two modes:
- Test: the difficulty level automatically adjusts throughout the game based on performance.
- Free Training (Training Room on the XBLA version): Allows the player to select exercises of their choice at three available levels (Easy, Medium, Hard).
The XBLA, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo DS versions also feature additional modes:
- Creative (available on PS3 with an add-on pack): A relaxing mode in which the player can doodle drawings or shoot fireworks.
- Stress: A more stressful test mode than the basic Test mode, which adds distracting noises and visuals, such as forcing the player to do two disparate actions at once, or dealing with distracting images or insects on the screen.*Also on the PlayStation 3.*
- Kid mode (available on PS3 with an add-on pack): A multiplayer mode that allows younger players to play.
- Personal coach: A user-selected AI coach that accompanies the player through various modes.
- Brain charts: Detailed stats and graphs tracking past gameplay.
The Nintendo DS version supports up to three player multiplayer via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, while the Xbox Live Arcade version features up to four player offline and online Xbox Live multiplayer, as well as online leaderboards. The mobile phone version also features an online leaderboard.
The mobile phone and iPod versions were very well received, including an 8.3/10 from IGN for the wireless version, which praised, "[the] majority of the puzzles are good and the production values are strong." Pocket Gamer raved about the iPod version in its 8 of 10 review, glowing, "It's almost a no-brainer to recommend Brain Challenge. It's enjoyable, invigorating and there's a remarkable amount [of gameplay] in it." iLounge's A- review of the iPod version also applauded, "It’s just as smart of an offering for this platform as Brain Age was for Nintendo’s."
IGN's review for the Nintendo DS version was less enthusiastic (7.5/10), but still singled out the Stress Test as an innovative twist to the brain exercise game formula, as was its review of the Xbox Live Arcade version (7.2/10), though it did mention, "There's quite a bit of depth to Brain Challenge...Making your way through Brain Challenge could take a very, very long time." DS Fanboy's review was more generous with an 8/10 review, and while calling it "an odd little game", it praised, "Lots of replay value, interesting unlockables, and loads of content make up for the title's flaws."
Team Xbox panned the Xbox Live Arcade version, saying, "It doesn’t take a whole lot of brain power to figure out that this is one title best left on the shelf," in its 4/10 review. GameSpot's negative review (5.5/10) stated, "...Only a handful of these stand-alone minigames resemble anything of interest."
- ↑ "Bit Boy's Incoming Secret Pulse Commands Pose a Brain Challenge for the Ant Nation". Nintendo of America. 2009-07-14. http://www.nintendo.com/whatsnew/detail/iTs7wwAiR5NTJEOYcefyS8riSXj44Qc9. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
- ↑ Brain Challenge game page. Nokia. Retrieved on 2008-04-04
- ↑ Get Out and Play!. Nokia. Retrieved on 2008-04-04
- ↑ Nintendo Japan Brain Challenge WiiWare page
- ↑ "New on WiiWare: Play pinball, boost your brain and invade earth!". Nintendo of Europe. 2008-11-07. http://www.nintendo.co.uk/NOE/en_GB/news/2008/new_on_wiiware_play_pinball_boost_your_brain_and_invade_earth_10087.html. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
- ↑ "Two WiiWare Games and One Virtual Console Game Added to Wii Shop Channel". Nintendo of America. 2008-11-10. http://www.nintendo.com/whatsnew/detail/UIu1VJEn-pwWGnHLeS8kKvUo-G4zzW1H. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
- ↑ Levi Buchanan. IGN Brain Challenge (wireless) review. IGN.
- ↑ Kath Brice. Pocket Gamer Brain Challenge (iPod) review. Pocketgamer.
- ↑ Jeremy Horwitz. iLounge Brain Challenge (iPod) review. iLounge.
- ↑ Jack DeVries. IGN Brain Challenge (DS) review. IGN.
- ↑ Ryan Geddes. IGN Brain Challenge (XBLA) review. IGN.
- ↑ Alisha Karabinus. DS Fanboy Brain Challenge (DS) review. Joystiq.
- ↑ David Chapman. Team Xbox Brain Challenge (XBLA) review. TeamXbox.
- ↑ Don Francis. GameSpot Brain Challenge (XBLA) review. GameSpot.