Brain Challenge 2: Think Again! is the sequel to Brain Challenge that actually gives you less than the original. The brain challenge games are all about developing your mental abilities by giving you challenges in four different skills. These are math, logic, memory and focus skills. Within a set time you must complete mini games ranging from counting how many blocks are missing to order balloons.
The game is set up as a training program where you first create your avatar. Once you have finished choosing the correct eyebrows you get to choose between a male or female brain training doctor. I choose the Dr. Cameron from House M.D. look-alike as my trainer of choice.
Then you get to do the daily training that gives you five different mini-games to complete. After you complete them you get evaluated, and hopefully you get a better rating than the day before. The rating is the percentage of your brain that you use. The first time I tried it I got 8% and felt like a complete jackass. Each time I tried it after that I have bettered my brain usage, even though I think I make just as many mistakes as that first time. Perhaps the game is just letting my score accumulate instead of measuring the last test only. I don’t know really but it makes it all feel kind of pointless. Is it brain training by unlocking my unused potential or is it the kind that a developer has invented just to make some money on people being stupid.
Once you start a daily training session you have to complete all of the five challenges to get a new rating. There is no way to cut it short, or for the game to save the game if you get a call. This limits the usage quite a bit as even though it doesn’t take more than three minutes to do them you are always at risk of being interrupted during that time. I also question how the mini-games are selected each time. Is it a randomised where it just chooses five of the 30 mini-games without any strategy, or does it choose depending on which areas you need to develop?
I have tried brain training apps for the iPhone before, and to me dual N-back tests such as those found in NeuroSnack and IQ Boost work really well. The problem is that after a while those aren’t fun, and become too much like work. Brain Challenge 2 claims to provide a total brain workout but I doubt it, I really do. I don’t think that you will improve anything with this game other than actually getting better at poking balloons in the correct order, and identifying people on buses. These are improvements that don’t go beyond the actual game.
You also get 5 special mini-games meant to reduce stress, as well as a stress test letting you know that you are stressed. Well thanks a lot for that Dr. Cameron from House M.D.! That is not really what I need to hear when I have important meetings at work to plan.
Finally the three bonus games complete the collection of 38 mini-games available in Brain Challenge 2. What all of them have in common is that neither of them are fun or good enough to feature in an own game. Most are forgettable, and quite frankly boring. But hey, how would I know I only use 8% of the grey lump of lard between my ears.
Brain Challenge 2 is basically the same as the original but played in landscape mode instead of in portrait mode. More or less the same amount of mini-games, statistics and bleepy sound effects. You do get to create your own avatar in the sequel, and perhaps that is good as you can point and laugh at the avatar when he scores low brain usage scores.
The presentation feels uninspired and bland, not too unlike a waiting room at the dentist. Both the avatar and the doctor look jagged, and low res. On a 3G the game also tends to stutter along, and this makes it hard to correctly tap objects that move about. Having your mental ability further diminished by the game running poorly really makes me mad. This is a problem reported by several users that their input doesn’t register properly.
To me the brain challenge games are for entertainment only, and as such they are quite boring. I have studied enough psychology at University to know that you don’t become smarter by playing these games. Try N-back tests such as IQ Boost or NeuroSnack or better still go for some KENKEN, Str8ts or chess to develop your brain. I can not recommend Brain Challenge 2 to anyone seriously trying to better their mental abilities. If you look for a mini-game collection I think it is a bit too expensive at five bucks, and you are better off looking for five $0.99 games that you think look interesting.