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At last, a computer game even I enjoy (a 42 year old mum of 2!). We bought a Nintendo DS for my daughter to play with on long car journeys and this game came as an option to add to the package.
It's really easy to set up and you simply follow the on-screen instructions to create your personal profile ready to get going, helped along the way by the be-spectacled cartoon character "Dr Lobe"! A maximum of four people can be set up as permanent members of the academy.
The aim is to broaden your web of intelligence by completing practice sections in a variety of areas; Think, Memorize, Analyze, Compute and Identify. Each are has a selection of "games" at easy, normal and hard levels - on average 3 games with 3 levels each per section. Each game is timed - the more items you complete in the least time, the higher your score.
Here are some examples of the types of games you can play;
Think section: "Heavyweight" - You are shown a set of scales with objects sat upon them - you have to assess and then touch the heaviest item - there are more than one set of scales to assess if you chose normal and then hard options! "Pathfinder" - You have to assess the route an animal should take on a grid to reach a friend, the harder option you chose, the more animals you have to pair up on the grid.
Memorize section: "Sound Bites" - Listen to which objects make a noise and then tap the pictures in order. "Flash memory" - Memorise numbers and symbols and then tap them out on a calulator grid as quickly and accurately as you can.
Analyze section: "Missing Link" - You look at a picture on the top screen and draw the missing line on the bottom screen - but be careful as the lower image may be flipped. "Cube game" - You are shown pictures of blocks stacked or placed randomly and you have to count up how many blocks there are, not forgetting the hidden ones.
Compute section: "Written Math" read the equation and then solve it using the calculator screen. "Coin parison" touch the slide with the larger amount of money.
Identify section: "Match maker" - Find matches among the many cards - speed pairs! "Get in shape" - Tap the pieces on the screen below that create the overall shape on the screen above.
As your scores in each area improve so you earn bronze, silver and gold medals from Dr Lobe and your web grows in size.
You also take tests, which automatically select a random set of skill areas and put your practice sessions to the test. At the end of your test, you are awarded a brain weight according to how well you've done and then given a profession in line with that weight. Dr Lobe also lets you know which areas you need to improve in so that you experience a rounded "education".
The graphics are simple and fun - lots of odd-looking animal characters, space ships, cartoon kids and funny noises but interestingly it doesn't really feel childish - especially when you're trying to beat a previous score and are creeping up the scale by two or three points at a time!
This is a great fun game that we all come back to again and again. My 4 year old son is even able to participate in a good selection of the games.
It's not unlike the DS Brain Training game (which is also very good), but I would say that it appeals to a wider audience, in terms of age range.
There is so much variety with the different tasks to complete within each section you won't get bored. And even if you don't win a medal, you're rewarded with praise if you increase your points!
I'd recommend this to everyone - I played it for 2 hours travelling through France last year, much to the annoyance of my husband! It's good to find a game that might actually be doing your brain some real good for a change!
Shop around for some excellent deals - you can get this for around £5 cheaper on-line than in a high street gaming store.
The only down side is that there isn't the option for visiting players to join in (as you can in Nintendo DS Brain Training).