Brain Age 2 adds more than a dozen new â€œtraining programsâ€ to Nintendoâ€™s patented regimen, features much improved speech recognition, and is loaded with Sudoku puzzles once again. This should essentially be a warmly-received, by-the-books sequel, especially for fans of the first game. Instead, folks most familiar with the original will tire of this game the fastest. The sense of dÃ©jÃ vu found on this DS cart is impossible to ignore. The menus look identical, and most of Kawashimaâ€™s quips seem recycled. Hell, even the box art is practically the same (itâ€™s blue instead of yellow). Perhaps this is for continuityâ€™s sake, but it just feels lazy.
Even so, doing math problems and solving word jumbles remains mysteriously fun. Or something closely approximating fun. Iâ€™m not sure if any of this is truly beneficial for my brain (at the very least, it doesnâ€™t hurt), but Nintendoâ€™s formula retains some of its novelty. Anyone who remembers futilely shouting, â€œBLUE!!â€ into the microphone will be pleased to learn that the microphone is much better at picking up â€œrock,â€ â€œpaper,â€ and â€œscissorsâ€ in this installment. Best of all, some mini-games now have real world applications, such as the change counter or piano player games. Cashiers and budding musicians will be overjoyed.
Brain Age 2 is still a quality DS title at a reasonable price, and anyone who has ignored the â€œnon-gamingâ€ bandwagon until now should at least give it a try. However, after a week or so of the required 15-minute training sessions, donâ€™t be surprised to find yourself spending more time with the Sudoku puzzles than with the good doctorâ€™s disembodied head.
Overall: 3 Stars