Left Brain Right Brain Review

The DS certainly has its share of innovative games. It also has more than its share of poor knock-offs of these innovative games. Case in point, Left Brain, Right Brain (LBRB), a game which tries to snag a few buyers caught up in the current brain game craze. Unfortunately the only way this game will enhance your brain power is if you exercise your brain by making the decision not to buy it.

LBRB is a mixed up game. It tries to pretend that it knows what it is talking about but is obviously confused and more than slightly clueless. The game description begins by stating that the left brain hemisphere is dominated by logical thought and the right is responsible for creativity. This is more pop psychology than physiology, but I'd cut the game a little slack if it didn't go downhill from there. Next the game erroneously states that this means that right-handed people are logical thinkers and left-handed people are creative. Maybe it's my left brain's fault, but I can't help but get a little peeved when pure bunk is presented as scientific fact like this. All fallacies aside, at this point I expected that the game would be a collection of logic puzzles and creative exercises designed to promote "whole brain thinking". Instead, the game takes the approach that training the dexterity in your non-dominant hand will improve your use of your non-dominant brain hemisphere when thinking (please support the funding of science education in our schools). And the best way to improve your coordination? Why, by playing umpteen variants of whack-a-mole, of course!

The game's "training" consists of playing a set of mini games three at a time out of a pool of 15. You turn the DS sideways and play the games with your dominant hand, then rotate it 180 degrees and play the same games with your non-dominant hand. The game will then compare your scores and spit out a number that's supposed to tell you how ambidextrous you are (weren't we supposed to be working on creative thinking?). There's no tracking of progress here - each session is played in isolation - but that doesn't really matter since the game rated me as 95% ambidextrous the first time I played it. And I don't even consider myself to be close to being ambidextrous.

Making matters worse, the games aren't that much fun. Poke the green square. Poke the colored dots. Poke the moles coming out of their holes. Games that don't have you poking things aren't that interesting either and some are just plain broken. There's one that has you draw a given letter, but the handwriting recognition is terribly inconsistent. It's not surprising that the game has issues with 'E', but when it can't recognize a 'T' you know that it's got some problems. And besides, how is writing a letter supposed to improve your thinking if you're beyond second grade?

LBRB doesn't succeed on any level. It doesn't help your thinking, it doesn't help you to become ambidextrous, and the mini games aren't any fun. You'll improve your brain score by avoiding it altogether.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 35%. Exercise your brain by thinking of creative ways to avoid this game.


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