Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles Review - July 4th 2009

When one brain puzzle game is not enough...Take a gander at our review and decide for yourself if Sudoku puzzles warrant a 30 pounds price tag.


DS owners are a funny lot - homework-hating youngsters who'll happily plonk down money for Maths questions if they bear the Brain Training name; mothers who chide children for playing videogames yet love nothing better than curling up on the couch and visiting their Animal Crossing abode. This irony is perhaps more apparent in Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles than in any other DS game. Hey, at least Brain Training, even if its claims of 'making your brain younger' could best be described as baseless, contained questions ranging from logic puzzles, word scrambles, piano recitals, and algebra. It might not have turned you into a genius, but it was an undoubtedly more intellectually stimulating way of passing an hour than guiding a floating machine gun around a blocky level (or jumping on a mushroom's head as a moustachioed, red and blue garbed plumber, for that matter).

Challenge Me has the puzzles for fans of...the two varieties of puzzles on offer.


This same comprehensiveness of content is lost on Challenge Me. Giving you no more than two puzzles to tackle - Picture Logic - create a picture based on the numbers in the vertical and horizontal lines - and Sudoku - enter numbers 1-9 in a 9x9 cell frame, with each number only allowed once in every vertical/horizontal line -the game is sorely limited. Both puzzles, though containing brief instructions beforehand, are poorly explained and thus uninviting (incidentally, if you didn't understand the brief explanation of them above, blame the developers' own directions which are merely replicated here). Anyone not already versed in the arts of Picture Logic or Sudoku will struggle here, and if you are already versed, what's stopping you from doing these same puzzles in the daily paper? (Incentive to do this: it's cheaper.)

The bland presentation does nothing to justify its place in the world where other, better 'brain training' games exist. This is perhaps the first DS game to be eye-catching purely based on how little there is to see. With all the imagination of a concrete office block and all the colour of clay, this is about as uninspired as videogames get.

Sudoku is popular, and if you feel the need for an electronic version on your DS, this could be it.


Dr. Kawashima was an entertaining and encouraging presence in Brain Training, asking for your name, giving you a daily rota of puzzles, and injecting much needed personality into what would otherwise be a boring, overpriced Key Stage 5 school book. Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles has neither personality, variety nor vigour, and completely misses the point of the new Nintendo marketing ethos - people will buy anything if it's dressed up nicely enough. If Brain Training wore a sparkling gown of glitter and gold, Challenge Me slapped on a sweat-stained, moth-bitten T-shirt and hoped for the best.


Has...puzzles?
Only two puzzles
Poorly explained
Dead, dead, dead
BORING
3
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