Brain WorkOut: Stretch that grey matter

Ever since Nintendo came out with its Brain Age title there’s been a preoccupation that we’re all slowly and irrevocably losing the ability to use our grey matter as efficiently as we apparently could in our teens. Along with this sudden self-consciousness that we’re falling into a hole of senility has come a variety of titles that will restore your mind and maintain it at its optimum “level”, just like Brain Workout does.

To get started you create a user that will then be used to record all your scores and your overall progress on the way to a sharper brain. There are five categories – Logic, Memory, Numerical, Spatial, and Verbal – each containing three games that can be played at five difficulty levels. The main purpose of the game is the “Daily Brain Test” that gives you one puzzle from each category and records your results for the progress chart. You can also practice the games as much as you like, uploading your score to the Brain Workout web site, but that won’t particularly help you in the quest for the perfect mind.

Stepping back for a moment and looking at Brain Workout, it seems like a DIY piece of software crudely hammered together in a rush with no consideration for design. There are skins available but they act as nothing more than a colour change and are so harsh that they could put you off your dinner, never mind the puzzles you’re supposed to complete. This leaves a bad taste in your mouth and doesn’t instil the all-important confidence that would be needed for anyone to fork over their hard earned cash to extend the seven day trial.

Turning a blind eye to the amateurish design of Brain Workout, the puzzles that it contains are actually well executed with suitable grades of difficulty for all levels. The daily trials are designed to last ten minutes and as time goes by you can track your progress, pinpointing the days when you weren’t “firing on all cylinders”. For all the hype that brain exercise has received, Brain Workout may be worth a look, but when it comes down to it give me a book and a good game of chess any day.

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