Hot Brain

August 7, 2007

I have been waiting for a good brain training game to come out on the PSP since Brain Age debuted on the Nintendo DS. Little did I realize it would just be a doppelganger with nothing new to add. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of worthy things in Brain Age to take note of and use, but some of the exercises just seem like blatant rip-offs such as the math problems of people coming and going from a house (Brain Age) or a boat (Hot Brain). Be that as it may, Brain Age won’t be coming to the PSP so Hot Brain will have to do.

You are invited to the Hot Brain institute to take part in exercises that are designed to raise the temperature of your brain. You see, as Professor Warmer tells you, the more you think about an exercise the more blood flow is created which increases the temperature of your head. And the more the blood flows the smarter you can become. So who wants to become smarter? I know I do, and it has been shown that playing these types of games can boost our cognitive abilities. See Mom, games do make me smarter.

What seem like standard homework questions, based in this timed format test your mental reflexes as you work through the exercises. The more you work, you open up harder levels of difficulty, the more you get right, the hotter your brain becomes. There are several categories of questions ranging from memory of sequences to concentration which are each presented in three types of formats. For example, sequences can either be performed as a progression of shapes or as directions for a cab to take through a city street. Some are more visual while others are more intuitive, it’s interesting just to see where you fall in the spectrum. You can practice all of these individual exercises or you can go straight to the master test; this uses one of each subcategory to score your overall brain temperature, with each exercise progressing from easy to hard.

Overall the graphics and play seem a little dumbed down for the PSP, and the load times seem to take longer than one would suspect for such non-invasive play. Fred Willard voicing the Professor is an excellent addition to this game as his dry wise-cracks goad you along and remind you that this is for fun. The tests are interesting and wide-ranging enough for me to perfect my lacking areas, while having a good time trying to best my own scores. If that isn’t enough for you then you can utilize the PSP’s wireless capability to go brain-to-brain with a friend and really kick some gray-matter.

Despite being a copy of another title, it is a copy of a successful one that serves an important purpose for young and old alike. For me, personally, it really did feel like I was getting my brain working, and I can definitely see the benefit of continually doing these exercises.

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.