With the recent success of Nintendo's brain training series of games for its dual-screened handheld, it's not surprising to find other brain-themed casual games appear that take advantage of the increased attention being paid to the genre. GameRival jumps on the bandwagon with its latest Flash game: Brain Buster, a game designed to give your brain some exercise while you play.
The challenge of Brain Buster is a unique mix of four (4) different mini-games strung together in a sequence. Each game tests your ability in a particular area: reflexes, music (memory), probability, and spatial recognition. Your performance for each is scored and graded with an itemized detail report delivered at the end of the game.
You may select from three (3) difficulty levels for each task with a bonus multiplier awarded for each increase in challenge. A practice option allows you to play each mini-game separately at your leisure.
Analysis: This game is both well-made and fun to play. I enjoyed the variety of the mini-games and that each seemed simultaneously fresh and familiar. I especially liked the music game since I haven't seen many games use ear-training as a basis for gameplay, and it is an idea I have been tossing around myself ever since taking Music Theory a few school terms ago. It was great that the developers added the "view as music score" option that makes it accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing players.
The difficulty levels seemed to offer a well-balanced risk vs. reward, and the creative assets, graphics and sound effects were all nicely polished and matched the game well.
Although the game was fun and moderately interesting, I didn't find the experience compelling enough to play more than a couple of times. If the game were to keep track of my progress versus my previous scores, or versus other players (give me the option to choose, perhaps?), then it would provide a reason to come back and try again. Nintendo's latest game, "Brain Age" for the DS, keeps track of the player's progress over time via a graph chart. Brain Age succeeds where this game fails in providing the player with a compelling reason to come back to play again.
Overall, a decent addition to a genre that we will no doubt be seeing more entries for in the very near future.