A new Kinect title has hit store shelves with Namco Bandai’s Body and Brain Connection. For those of you who are familiar with the Brain Age series on Nintendo’s consoles you already pretty much know what to expect here. This is essentially Kinect’s version of Brain Age and, unfortunately, it doesn’t work very well. For starters, as soon as you boot up the game, you will immediately notice that the menu system doesn’t work very well. You navigate the menus like you do with a lot of Kinect titles where you hold out your hand and move the cursor around. Once you find something that you like you remain there for a few seconds until it starts to load. The problems begin when the cursor won’t stay where it is supposed to or, because it is all over the place, it won’t load what you want it to. This can make it really hard to choose the option that you want and, by the time you actually get started, chances are you are already frustrated with the game. It is never a good sign when you are already frustrated with a title before you really start to play it.
The first time that you start up you will be given a brain fitness test to see how old your brain is (i.e. your “brain age”). You will be given three exercises to complete and it will judge your brain age based on the results of those exercises. Once you get through that you will get to the main menu where you have a few different options. You can take the brain test again if you want, go to custom exercises where you can choose the specific exercise that you will do or start a group session if you are with friends. The custom exercises are broken up into different groups such as math, reflexes, logic, memory and physical. Within each category there are a number of exercises to choose from depending on what you want to do. The math category will see how quickly your brain can process numbers as well as your reflexes and then, once you are done, Dr. Kawashima will give your grade. The reflexes category will test how quick your reflexes are in certain situations. The logic exercise will require quick processing of shapes and numbers while the memory category will have a bunch of different exercises designed to test out your short term memory.
While you are playing these different exercises you will quickly realize that you don’t have enough control to always make accurate choices. There is one memory game where they show you a bunch of numbers and then flip them over and you have to select the numbers in order, from lowest to highest. There were many times where I wanted to pick the number in the upper right hand corner but, because of the instability of this game at times, I would inadvertently select the number in the middle and end up getting the whole thing wrong. On the other hand, there were a few games that seemed to work pretty well. There was one game where a clock appeared on the screen and I had to show the time it gave me utilizing my arms as the hour and minute hands respectively. There was also another one that had three different shelves on it with the top being red, the middle being yellow and the bottom being blue. I am standing in the middle and act as the bridge in this game between the two sides of the screen. If a blue vehicle is driving towards me on the top shelf I have to position my hands in such a way that it gets safely to the bottom (blue) platform. If I see a yellow school bus driving on the middle platform then I just have to hold out my arms so that it can use them as a bridge and get across safely. It is an interesting concept and one that works fairly well.
If you do get through a game and you think it was too easy you can choose a more difficult setting to give you a bit more of a challenge. You always start out at the beginner level and once you have passed that the other difficulties will become available. There are twenty mini games to choose from and some are more successful than others. This game is meant to be played in short sessions on a daily basis so that you can take your daily brain test and see how much you have improved over the previous days score. If you play it for too long you will probably get frustrated at some point and just turn the game off. Whether or not you like this game will be dependent on how patient of a gamer you are. This game would actually be great for kids as it does challenge your brain and it can help keep them sharp. The question remains though as to whether they would have enough patience to deal with some of the control problems on their way to getting to the exercise they want to play. If you are thinking about picking up this game I highly recommend that you rent it first so that you know what you are getting into. Additionally, the game is currently fifty dollars and that is way to overpriced for the twenty mini games that you find here. If you are interested you might want to wait until the game gets down to a more reasonable price. Overall, Body and Brain Connection isn’t a horrible game but it does have quite a few problems. Your enjoyment of this game will depend on how you can deal with those problems and whether you can overcome them.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network