Many of the Kinect’s successes have come from games mimicking hit games for the Wii. Kinect Sports was clearly inspired by Wii Sports. Dance Central certainly marketed to the Just Dance crowd. Your Shape went after the market championed by Wii Fit. Body and Brain Connection goes in a slightly different direction: trying to follow in the footsteps of a DS title, Brain Age.
It’s not subtle, either. Namco Bandai even used Dr. Kawashima, Brain Age‘s mascot and generally-creepy laughing floating face, as its centerpiece. (Sure, now he looks like a rather-normal-seeming Xbox Avatar, but it’s still him.) The game tracks your “age” on the same scale, features daily tests and challenges your reasoning skills with little challenges.
What sets Body and Brain Connection apart is clearly its control scheme. It’s a Kinect title, after all, so you’ll be moving your body into various positions to indicate answers, kick right choices into goals and such. It’s a fun way to pick these choices, but we can’t help but feel that it doesn’t lead to a result that really says anything. It’s training something, to be sure, but sometimes we’re judged on when the system realizes we’ve gotten our arms into position.
There are twenty exercises in five categories, and each is supposed to test your mental quickness. They seem like things you do with Brain Age, just with enough difference to not get sued and enough Kinect gimmicks to make it seem like it’s taking advantage of the platform. You can also look at these as body-controlled minigames with a veneer of something brain-related, as that’s sometimes what it is too. After all, are you dumber if your arm moves an inch or two in a direction while you’re swinging your other arm around?
Ultimately, it’s the execution that makes the game falter. The game’s grading system seems a bit harsh, and unlike Brain Age, it just doesn’t feel like you’re getting any better at them as time goes on. There’s a multiplayer mode, but what activities happen to come up usually determine the winner before you even do them.
If you love Brain Age and want something just a bit different, Body and Brain Connection may fit the bill. But it’s not something you’ll want to play for very long, and the nature of the Kinect means you’re not precisely training much of anything.
Pros: Basically like Brain Age, lower-than-average price
Cons: Arbitrarily on Kinect, harsh progression