Fitness and Math Together in One Game
Body and Brain Connection offers 20 mini-games that have you performing math equations, memory tests, or logic challenges while simultaneously kicking your feet or waving your arms. Since this game plays on the Kinect system, there is no controller, and all of the gaming is done by moving your body.
From Namco Bandai Games, this game brings back the avatar of Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, the famed neuroscientist who motivated many gamers to exercise their brains in the Brain Age games from Nintendo. Dr. Kawashima starts you out by having you play three mini-games from which he extrapolates your "brain age." Thereafter, Dr. Kawashima offers you daily brain and body exercises (mini-games) and tests you daily to see if your "brain fitness" has improved.
In addition to the daily mini-games, you can opt to play specific mini-games that you like. The mini-games can also be explored as a group exercise, which lets friends and family have a friendly, brainy competition. In the group play, up to four people can take turns or two players can compete head to head.
The mini-games fall into five categories: math, reflexes, logic, memory, and physical. There are four games per category, but no matter the category, you will be thinking and moving.
For example, one of the math mini-games has you moving your arms to form a "less than" or "greater than" symbol depending on the two equations presented on the screen. Players must be proficient in elementary addition and subtraction to play this mini-game.
A game under the reflexes category involves punching with your arms to pop numbered balloons in order from the smallest to the largest in a timed exercise. Your ability to visually process information is put to the test.
Striking whole body poses is part of a memory game, as is memorizing the locations of numbers that are shown for short periods of time.
Under the physical games, you will find yourself moving your arms up and down to create bridges as colored vehicles enter the screen from three locations on the left and need to drive over your arms (crossing over the middle of your body) and exit onto one of three matching colored ramps on the right. What is challenging about this game is that the vehicles move so quickly that you need to try to process doing one movement with your left arm while doing something different with your right.
Takes Photos of You
Throughout your playing, and especially during group activities, the game takes photos of you and shares them with you at the end. They can be hilarious to view.
Body and Brain Connection is an unique addition to the Kinect library of games. By turning thinking games into something physical, it makes these brain-teasers seem more fun. And most testers found that they got better at the mini-games the more they played them.
However, Body and Brain Connection isn't for young children. There is quite a lot of math involved in these mini-games, including one about identifying the multiples of numbers. Plus there is constant grading of your performance, and some not too gentle teasing about how bad you are when you don't perform well.
This game is intriguing to explore; and most of the mini-games work well with the Kinect controller. However, in the one called "Step Mania," which is a memory game that has you hop and jump as if you were playing hopscotch, the slightest shifting of your weight can make you lose. Also off-putting is the sterile environment in which you play -- you feel as if you are in a lab being tested.
A positive feature is that the game tracks your individual performance over time. Every day that you play, the game offers you a stamp on its calendar, and allows you to take a Brain Fitness Test (three mini-games in a row) in hopes of raising your "brain age." It then plots your progress on a graph. This tracking can be motivation to come back to try the brain and body challenges every day if you enjoy that kind of play.
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