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This surprise follow-up to the popular Brain Training series on DS and 3DS makes a very welcome return to the Nintendo Switch with a collection of new and returning activities. The software is predominantly designed to stimulate your prefrontal cortex and boost your short-term memory, self-control, concentration, and multi-tasking abilities. Those who have played previous installments will know exactly what they're in for, and will be welcomed back with the trademark minimalistic presentation and gameplay that characterised previous entries in the series that burst on to the scene back in 2006. The game is also filled to the brim with charm in the form of Dr. Kawashima's charmingly expressive low-polygon head who imparts fun facts, research tidbits, and words of encouragement.
The bulk of the package is designed to be played in handheld mode (so Switch Lite users should not be dissuaded if they are interested) while utilising the touch-screen (a stylus is included in the package, and the system settings of the console should be adjusted so that touch settings are set to "Stylus" for optimal performance). Meanwhile, Quick Play mode, which is designed for docked/tabletop mode, includes three single-player activities that utilise the IR camera in the right Joy-Con, and three multiplayer activities, which require a Joy-Con per player. These should be considered supplementary to the base package, and not an incentive to pick up the software in and of itself as the Quick Play activities are far too brief to recommend on their own merits, but are welcome additions nonetheless.
The main portion of the software is split up between Daily Training and Brain Age modes. Daily Training is designed to give your brain a workout prior to the Brain Age assessment, which provides an approximation of your mental performance (on a scale of 20 to 80 years of age) after partaking in three activities chosen at random. The software is designed to be played for a few minutes each day (I am averaging about 20-30 minutes per day) and I can see myself returning to it in the months and years to come as I had with the original DS installment and Devilish Brain Training on 3DS.
I am very grateful that Nintendo have opted to release a new Brain Training game on their own hardware rather than dumping it on mobile where it would almost certainly be crippled with in-app purchases, cool-down periods, and require a constant internet connection. Brain Training may feel like an anomaly in 2020 where countless copycats are available on smart devices while the original 2006 installment predated smartphones and offered an experience unlike any other available at the time, but it is refreshing to see that software such as this still has a place in the retail/console sphere, and I really hope that this isn't the last that we see of Dr. Kawashima on Nintendo's own hardware. While the software isn't bursting to the seams with content, it is intended to be played in short daily sessions, and will undoubtedly provide hours of value (and hopefully improved mental performance!) through continued use.
Very highly recommended for all ages and skill levels.