A workout title for your brain, not your body
Interesting variation on “exercise games” where the muscle you’re working out is your noggin. Similar to games like Wii Fit, you can calculate your “brain age” and see it decrease as you continue mastering the exercises. While the activities are fun, user interface annoyances and limited shelf life make this title fall short of being a “must-have”.
When I saw the name Body and Brain Connection, for some reason I felt I should review it on this site. Maybe because of the word “body” and it used the Kinect, I figured there’d be some fitness component.
Well, I quickly found out that this is a fitness game–but it’s fitness for your brain, not for your body. Still, I figure I’d gone so far to acquire the game that I might as well finish my review of it.
When you start the game, you’re greeted by Dr. Kawashima and his little light bulb buddy. He explains how the body and the brain are connected, and how moving the body is a great way to keep the brain in good shape.
The first thing the game does take you through three random activities (see below for a complete list of “brain exercises”), after which you’re given a “brain age”. The “Brain Age” works a lot like the “Wii Fit Age” on Wii Fit, in that you stamp it onto a calendar and your goal should be to lower your brain age every time you return to the game (let’s say I know a few people who don’t need their brain age any lower, but that’s beside the point).
My “brain age” was 60 (just to let you know, I am still far from that in real life). But in my defense, I got stuck with the “Math Jock” game where I didn’t realize I had to kick the ball until halfway through. I demand a recount!
Here is the entire list of exercises.
PHYSICAL: I wouldn’t say these are exactly “physical exercises”, although they do use your body more than the others.
- Traffic Control – as different colored cars move across the scren, you need to make a “bridge” with your arms to make sure each car makes it to the correctly colored ramp on the other side.
- Mouse Mayhem – Hit mice on all four corners of the screen while avoiding spiky ones.
- Touch ‘n Go – It’s Pac-Man, Pooka (from Dig-Dug), and the Ms. Pac-Man ghosts all together again (Thanks Namco!). You need to control Pooka with one hand and Pac-man with the other to keep away from the ghosts for 30 seconds.
- Mathercising: Punch a punching bag when the number on a counter is a multiple of the number next to the bag.
LOGIC: Exercises that require quick processing of information of shapes and numbers
- What Time Is it – move your arms to match the time on a clock–not as easy as it sounds!
- Time Bomb – kick or punch away ticking time bombs
- Matchmaker – move your hands over matching shapes
- Off the Radar – test your skills of extrapolation by guessing where )
MEMORY: Exercises that require the memorization of posts and order of numbers in a short time
- Strike a Pose – memorizing poses and matching them
- Flip & Find – sort of like the game “Simon” with numbers
- Pizza Catch – “n-back” task memory exercises
- Step Mania – sort of like hopscotch, except you’re memorizing steps
REFLEXES: Games to test how quick you are
- Balloon Buster – Pop balloons from smallest to largest, testing visual processing skills
- Flag Frenzy – Raise or lower red and white flags
- Pop ‘Til You Drop – The Stroop Test in action – pop the correctly colored balloons according to the color name written on the screen
- Follow the Arrows – Look at the arrows and touch the corresponding panel.
MATH – Train your brain to do calculations quickly
- Which is Bigger – Compare two math equations and gesture which one is bigger.
- Perfect 10 – Find numbers that add up to 10
- Math Jock – Kick numbered ball into the goal to complete a math equation.
- Meter Reader – Calculate a string of numbers.
There are only 20 right now, but more are promised through downloadable content.
One cool thing about each exercise is that they tell you what part of your brain you’re “exercising”, including your frontal, parietal and temporal lobes. Medical studies lately have shown that keeping the brain active is certainly a good way to help prevent memory impairment and dementia later in life, just as much as physical exercise can keep the heart and body healthy. All of the exercises are quite entertaining, and even more fun to play in a group to test everyone’s math skills, reflexes, and memory skills.
There were a bit of annoyances with the game. One slightly annoying thing is that to make certain menu selections, you have to thrust your hand forward, rather than just putting your hand over the menu option and waiting. Microsoft should really enforce a consistent user interface guidelines with its game developers. Another annoying part of the game is that it is way, way too sensitive one the menu screens. Any slight hand movement will likely trigger a bunch of menu selections you didn’t want. I’ll just chalk this up to the developers being a little new to the Kinect. One other nitpicky annoyance is that it takes your picture quite randomly without any warning, and that picture follows you forever, I can’t find any way to erase it. So many sure you’re looking your best before you start up the game.
All in all, it’s a fun enough game, although putting the word “body” in the game title is a little bit of a stretch. You won’t get much physical exercise out of it at all. That said, if you’re looking for some good “brain exercise” to pass the time, there are some entertaining selections here.