Dr. Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training: Can You Stay Focused? Review

In this day and age with everyone so busy, it is easy to forget to focus on yourself and stay fit. This obviously goes for your physical fitness but what about your mental fitness? Your brain needs exercise too, and what better way than to do so within a game that is not massively time-consuming as well as portable. Dr. Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training can do it for you, but ‘Can you stay focused?’

Gameplay

I’ve heard numerous forms of brain training over the last few years and my interest in them was admittedly low, if at all. It must be the competitive part of me that keeps me going back in this game, the temptation to beat my last score and progress.

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‘Dr. Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training: Can You Stay Focused?’ I think your first test is trying to remember that whole name during a conversation. It brings multiple variations of training, presents them in a nice bundle and really encourages you to train your brain and have fun at the same time.

This is the latest in the series of Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training games spanning from the Nintendo DS since 2006. Existing players will notice a number of returning favourites however 17 out of the 30 available activities are new for this title.

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Firstly, it doesn’t dump you with a pile of activities and expect you to become Albert Einstein overnight. It gives you a couple of activities including a fun Tetris-style game in the ‘Time Out’ section if you need a break. The thing that I really liked was the escalation system, if you scored a certain percentage during an activity, you progress to the next level. Similarly, if you score a low percentage, it will lower your level but does not make you feel bad in doing so.

Each activity differs greatly from the others and they can get quite difficult. But the more you play, you will find yourself getting better each day. That was something that I did find interesting – each activity has a time limit. You play for 5 minutes and then that activity is done for the day, you can move on to other activities until you have completed your allotted time and then put it away until the next day. It does not expect you to play over and over, actually you can quite successfully complete the day’s quota within half an hour, quite reasonable.

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There is a reward system where you can unlock extra activities and games as you reach certain levels of activities or days played. This is a great way to keep you motivated.

The game is primarily played with the 3DS stylus allowing you to select or move objects, but mainly to write down answers during the activities. This works very well and means that you can enter your answers much quicker than to use an onscreen keyboard for example. The only downside to this is the variations of users’ handwriting. I did encounter a number of times where the way I write a number ‘5’ sometimes got mistaken for a 3 or 8. I found I had to change the way I wrote these on the screen.

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The selection of activities is very expansive, ranging from musical, card games to spelling, math and more. The Devilish Calculations is the one that I both love and hate, trying to remember math answers 3 and four questions ago is indescribable. The Training Supplements and Time Out is where I have the most fun, with logic puzzles and games, but I suppose that it the idea.

Audio & Visuals

The sound of this game is simplistic, exactly what is required. You don’t need background music or other distractions when you are trying to concentrate of the task at hand. But in saying that, they have done well to present to player with the relevant sounds at the right cues. Other than noises, the narration in between activities is quite well done. If I had to say anything negative, it would be the flow of the narration. It paused every few seconds, obviously to match up with the subtitles. I can understand why this decision was made, it just became annoying for someone like me who hates subtitles. Also, intermittently the player is required to press the A button to continue the narration. This is something that Nintendo does a lot in a number of games and I don’t like it.

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Presentation is always a big factor and this type of game needs an appealing, uncluttered layout. That is exactly what you get here, everything you need and nothing more. The animation and model of Dr. Kawashima is admittedly “low poly” but detailed enough to get the message across. What I did really like visually is the Tetris-style game requires you to turn the 3DS sideways to accommodate the tall level requirements. This meant that I was now playing my 3DS in a way I never had done before and I liked it.

Overall

Dr. Kawashima’s Devilish Brain Training: Can You Stay Focused? Is the answer to exercising your brain in short, fun bursts. It gives you the ability to track your progress and aim to beat your past scores. There are a lot of activities for you to unlock and customise your own Brain Training program. This is a great game for children and adults alike, as we could all do with a little extra Brain Training.

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Written by

CJ Taylor

I am a 38 year old gamer, I play on Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U and PC. I have been gaming since the early 80’s (feel old now) on Commodore 64, Most Sega; Nintendo; Playstation and Xbox consoles and PC. I now primarily play games on Xbox One and am enjoying all that the new generation of gaming is offering.

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