The original Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? was a real breath of fresh air when it launched for the DS in 2006. It was the first of its kind and everybody was playing. Not just all types of gamers, I mean everybody. Mums, dads, grandparents…they were all getting in on the action. Now, 14 years later, Nintendo has released a remake of sorts, compiling the best of the classic mini-games with a smattering of new ones.
Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch doesn’t have the same impact as the original did, nor does it create the same kind of desire to play and train every day. However, it does include plenty of great exercises and still presents a daily challenge to improve your mental acuity.
It’s far from perfect, especially in this day and age with the ubiquitousness of smartphones and their apps but it’s still worth checking out.
Brain Training Switch Review
The basic idea behind Brain Training Switch is to play daily, engage in mental exercises and improve your ‘Brain Age.’ The game encourages you to play a few mini-games a day and not to spend hours at a time with the game.
Daily training is designed to reinforce this as you don’t start the game with access to all of the mini-games. This is a fine idea in theory, but in practice, it’s kind of annoying. Locking all the games behind daily training means that if you don’t play every day it’s going to take you a while to unlock them all.
Let’s face it. Most people will struggle to find a few minutes a day to play the game and so unlocking everything may take quite a while. Until you do unlock everything you’ll be stuck with the same few games which will start to get a bit samey.
How Old is Your Brain?
Outside of that minor niggle, Brain Training Switch is pretty great. The mini-games and puzzles mostly do the trick and the more I played the more I felt myself improving and getting faster. I wouldn’t say I was any smarter but I was certainly better at solving the puzzles and quickly figuring out the correct answers.
Of the included mini-games the best ones are those that involve maths, quick problem solving and memory. I also particularly enjoy the piano playing mini-game. I am terrible at it, but it’s fun to pretend I’m making music.
As for the newly added IR games, these are pretty forgettable. The ideas are solid but the technology lets them down. In one, you need to make rock, paper or scissors with your hand and have the IR camera on the Joy-Con read which one you’re making. When it works it’s fun but it often fails and doesn’t see your hand or misreads the symbol you’re making.
This leads to you taking longer to solve the puzzle and overall a higher and worse Brain Age.
An Apple a Day
Also included in Brain Training Switch are some multiplayer games but they’re largely forgettable and you’re unlikely to ever play them again after playing them once.
While it’s nice to fondly look back at Brain Training and remember being addicted to trying to get the best Brain Age you could, Brain Training Switch isn’t enough to justify itself to most players. I love the Sudoku mini-games but there are so many Sudoku apps that paying for a Switch game just to play it seems wasteful.
It’s not that Brain Training Switch is a bad game it’s just that it’s not as relevant or interesting as it was over a decade ago. It’s worth checking out if you want to test your Brain Age or as a gift for Grandman but there are plenty of better games you could be playing.
Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch was reviewed using a retail copy provided by Nintendo.
Game Title: Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch
- Lots of great brain training mini-games and activities - 8.5/108.5/10
- Plenty of mediocre mini-games too - 4/104/10
- Gradually unlocking all mini-games is a pain - 4/104/10
- IR doesn't always work - 5/105/10
- Still as charming and fun as ever - 7/107/10