Generally favorable reviews - based on 58 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 58
  2. Negative: 1 out of 58
Buy On
  1. It is ideal for those looking to further develop their mental alertness, or wanting to take a break from gaming-overdose, or simply anyone who feels like a quick, productive coffee break.
  2. Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? is unique, compelling and in the long run, ultimately rewarding. The end result is a game that whilst graphically inept, deserves to be scooping up awards at the end of the year regardless.
  3. The game is such a blast because you only have about ten minutes each day to prove that you really are as quick and sharp as you were the day before.
  4. 80
    But like a gym membership, it's completely up to the player whether a group of mind exercises is considered "fun." At the very least, Nintendo's wrapped everything into a fulfilling package to make these tasks as enjoyable and replayable as possible.
  5. Brain Age is truly a pseudo game. It’s Wario Ware meets Tamagotchi meets further education. If you want to give your brain a workout and get a fun number puzzle game to boot then picking up Brain Age is a no brainer.
  6. What impressed us most was the possibility that a player just might get hooked on Conrad or Bronte and this little handheld game might actually spark someone to put down the electronic gadget for a while and pick up a literary classic.
  7. Whether it works or not, you'll have fun playing it; lots of fun; and that, more than anything, is why you should buy it.
  8. Edge Magazine
    The fact that it’s just mental arithmetic simply doesn’t matter: all it makes you realise is that most games are mental arithmetic one way or another. [May 2006, p.95]
  9. AceGamez
    If you're looking for something different and stimulating, something that could even, perhaps, improve your thought process, Brain Training achieves that very well and does exactly what it sets out to do.
  10. With your brain getting older by the minute, Nintendo lets you reverse the flow and makes it younger. Fun exercises to stimulate the mind while on the go.
  11. The fact that you can only test for your age once a day gives you incentive to keep trying, and with the floating head of Professor Kawashima offering suggestions, there's a sense of a persisting, updating world every time you play.
  12. Be careful should you choose to pick this up, it has a nasty habit of making addicts out of your family members that normally don’t care for games.
  13. However, if you're looking for another fix of Nintendo's knack for genius game design - with the added benefit of potential brain flexing thrown in - you owe it to yourself to check this out.
  14. Brain Age isn’t really a game and it’s gimmick will eventually wear thin. But it’s also an excellent piece of software for those that like a good puzzle game.
  15. Even so, the mini-games are excellent and really do provide a quick, painless focus for the mind.
  16. 87
    Prof. Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old is Your Brain is an intriguing 'program'. This is not a game for Mensa geniuses, but is ideal for those of a general intelligence.
  17. The polygonal, disembodied head of Ryuta Kawashima acts as your personal coach, and his quips are actually pretty amusing. Challenges are stripped down to just include what's necessary, and there's not much to fault, in that sense.
  18. 85
    Crosses the border between being a game and a unique application. In both respects, it somehow succeeds and is an amusing way to keep those brain waves going.
  19. Number one in Japan for 46 weeks and counting. That's got to mean something.
  20. For DS owners that haven’t played Brain Age yet, it may be hard to understand what the hype is about. Let me give you a word of advice – take your DS to one of those demo download kiosks Nintendo has in game stores, or find a friend with a copy of the game and download a demo from them. Only after trying it will you have an idea just how fun this title is.
  21. netjak
    It's interesting to watch your progress after a couple of weeks of daily play. Who knew that math could be this much fun?
  22. Game Informer
    It might sound dry, and there are some issues with the voice and handwriting recognition(it frequently struggles to detect that you've said "blue"), but you'll be surprised how addicted you will become. [Jun 2006, p.119]
  23. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    I just wish the game offered a wider array of activities...simple arithmetic has only so much staying power. [Jun 2006, p.120]
  24. I know it sounds like work, but this is way more fun than flossing. It's like playing a bunch of puzzle-based mini-games.
  25. For $20, you get some fun minigames to play that will track your progress along with 100 Sudoku puzzles.
  26. Yet another odd and unique one from Nintendo. Not for everyone, but it does your brain some good.
  27. Play Magazine
    Effective or not, this is a uniquely engaging piece of interactive software--and it's 20 bucks. [Jun 2006]
  28. It’s pretty amazing that one can actually see how much they are improving over time if they play the game regularly.
  29. 80
    It's not a game, and because you're never taught anything new, it's not really even "edutainment" -- Brain Age is a tool, one that sharpens your mind not just for playing real games, but living real life as well.
  30. An extremely unique product that has since spawned off countless imitators on the Nintendo DS and even some on the PSP. At its budget price, it’s a great way to use a few minutes a day.
  31. Games Master UK
    Genuinely strengthens your mind, and does it well. That's it, really. [June 2006, p.66]
  32. NGC Magazine UK
    Like nothing you've ever played before and, for that reason, a great talking point in the pub. Plus, it's good for you. [June 2006, p.40]
  33. Don’t expect it to raise your IQ, but do expect it to kick off a long, long line in copycat titles.
  34. If you’re searching for a hearty, unique puzzler for your DS, Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day may just be a perfect match.
  35. A simple idea brilliantly executed. Perfect for newcomers to gaming.
  36. I'm not sure whether my brain's actually benefiting from this special treatment, but I do know that Brain Age is fun to mess around with for several minutes a day.
  37. Now that I've gotten my brain age down to a respectable number, I'm waiting for Nintendo to come out with "Body Age."
  38. The handwriting and voice recognition are great features, except when they fail; it takes practice to retrain your writing and pronunciation to Brain Age's expectations, and in the meantime, your DS just thinks you're stupid.
  39. I enjoy playing the game daily since it keeps a chart of my progress. Does the game make me any smarter? I doubt it, but the bottom line is I’m having fun.

Awards & Rankings

#5 Most Discussed DS Game of 2006
#38 Most Shared DS Game of 2006
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 52 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 52
  2. Negative: 6 out of 52
  1. Oct 6, 2017
    this game makes me feel dumb :(this game makes me feel dumb :( ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Full Review »
  2. Mar 6, 2012
    To enjoy Brain Age you may have to learn to write again, and that almost reduces the entire experience to frustration.

    The Good: Nice ideas
    To enjoy Brain Age you may have to learn to write again, and that almost reduces the entire experience to frustration.

    The Good: Nice ideas for an innovative dual screen use; good time comparing graphs and drawings with other users; sketching individual stamps is great; funny interaction with doctor Kawashima! Sudoku.

    The Bad: Sometimes it just can't recognize your handwriting, and losing points for that is EXTREMELY frustrating; graphs are limited to one month per time, so you can't follow your progress in a long term; normal and hard modes are mixed in one graph, making your average fall when you try the hard mode.

    Good brain training programs, an overall delightful bright sound and the funny doctor's head floating around the screen don't keep Brain Age from being frustrating.
    The major problem here is the not-always-good handwriting recognizing system. Every now and then you'll find yourself scratching the screen here and there while watching the time going by without being understood; or being misunderstood, resulting in lost points anyway. In a nutshell, the pieces fall apart because of a structural defect.
    A little extra encouragement would have been nice too--like giving prizes for reaching higher age levels or completing sudoku--but it's not there. Add to that the disheartening mix between normal and hard modes in the graphs generation and we've got more problems than qualities.

    On the other hand some training programs like Low to High and Head Count and some tests from the brain age check feature like Connect Maze work pretty fine and are well-executed ideas, but that only sum up for a final disappointment feeling.

    In the end there's only a bitter taste in your mouth because it's easy to recognize a good opportunity wasted under technical issues.
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 25, 2011
    Brain Age is like those game that came out of nowhere , and have a different scheme. Is lacking, not to many diversity , just finish to unlockBrain Age is like those game that came out of nowhere , and have a different scheme. Is lacking, not to many diversity , just finish to unlock all the content and nothing more. My big complain even if i enjoyed a lot , is that if you finished school and one of your families member gives you as a gift this game, please , is like having an insult. Full Review »