Dr. Kawashima's Body and Brain Exercises Hands-On Preview

By Lauren Alessandra on January 24, 2011, 8:45PM EDT

In 2006, Nintendo released the first game in their Brain Age series called Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day in America. It was released on the Nintendo DS and was an instant success. It included a ton of short puzzles and games which were intended to train the areas of your brain that you perhaps neglect or did not know it needed some tuning.

Now nearly 5 years later, Namco Bandai is pushing the series to new heights by releasing the next installment on Kinect. The game is titled Dr. Kawashima's Body and Brain Exercises. With this, the game's challenges will provide the same brain training you know and love, but will now incorporate the use of the rest of your body to make it even more taxing on the brain.

In this version, there are plenty of new games to choose from. These games range from tricky color-matching games to challenging math related games. There are some games that challenge logic and then some that are much more physical. Balloon Buster, for example, requires more logic since its objective is to simply pop the numbered balloons from smallest number to largest. This is different to a game like Traffic Control which requires more of your body and mind. In this game the player needs to use their arms in order to direct color coded cars and trucks to their correct color coded destination. When simply playing in a custom mode, you are able to choose from any of the games listed, however, when in the challenge mode, Dr. Kawashima will choose games for both you and your friend(s).

You and your partner will complete two different games each, and after completing both, Dr. Kawashima will decide who did the best based on your performance. So where one friend could get a game that's in the logic category, the other might get a game in the memory category. Also, when playing in this mode, the games are made more challenging. For example, Traffic Control goes monochrome, so you have to try and remember what colors they were.

The console switch between DS and Kinect seems understandable in that Kinect provides a lot more ways for someone to utilize their body and mind. It only seems logical that it would raise the bar for the series. However, there are still some kinks in the system in that Kinect is very fickle with your placement and if you somehow step out of line with your movements, it's likely to cost you a few points. Perhaps the final version will have a bit more fine tuning.

While it does seem understandable to move over to Kinect, the series seemed to work on the DS a lot more since it was portable and something that a commuter could perhaps bring on a train while travelling to work. It was much more convenient for those who are just looking for a quick mind game to pass the time.

With that being said though, the expansion of the Brain Age series to the Kinect is definitely something to look out for if you are a fan of the series and wish to further your brain workout.

So, anyone who's looking to expand their body and mind, expect Dr. Kawashima's Body and Brain Exercises in stores 11 February 2011 exclusively on Kinect for Xbox 360.

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