Xbox

Body and Brain Connection Review

Body and Brain Connection LogoDeveloped in conjunction with Brain Age creator Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, Body and Brain Connection is a series of exercises that has you use your body to solve math, logic and memory problems. Unfortunately, this is a rudimentary entry in the brain training genre marred by twitchy, often unresponsive controls and a substandard presentation.

When you start up Body and Brain Connection, you can choose to do a daily test consisting of three pre-chosen exercises designed to determine your “brain age”. Unlike other brain training software however, there is no baseline test or even the opportunity to input your age, meaning test results are simply score-based. Read More…

You can also choose to play custom or recommended exercises that are grouped into four categories alone or with up to three other people, though only two can play at once.  Higher difficulty levels will be unlocked as you play, however I couldn’t figure out how to drop down to a lesser difficulty afterwards; something that could be a factor if you play with your kids or someone who may have a learning disability.

20 is considered as the ideal brain age and in order to achieve that you must learn how to play the game’s 16 single-player exercises at the highest level. The problem is that control inconsistencies lead to many frustrating missed inputs, further convoluting your scores and test results.

The control input is overly twitchy, has a noticeable lag and quite often registers your body movements incorrectly. HUD elements and menus are always either too big or too small. Some exercises require you to make a motion or pose that triggers the Kinect menu, tutorials can be easily skipped by accident and the game requires at least 10 feet of play area to function properly. In short, the exercise controls and input methods used are terrible and ruin the software.

Full use of both arms and the ability to stand and kick are required to play Body and Brain Connection, though I was able to play several of the exercises while seated.

A Cluttered HUD and Twitchy Controls are a Bad CombonationEven if you can get past the controls, you are left with a collection of very basic exercises that in most cases are neither fun, challenging or stimulating. Pointing my arms to recreate a digitally-displayed time on an analog clock was literally the most fun I had with this software.

The exercises also have very little “Kinect-ness” to them and play like older camera-based games like those for the PlayStation 2 EyeToy peripheral. There are no exercises that take advantage of play depth or voice commands for example.

In addition to a poorly-designed HUD and abysmal exercise controls, the presentation of Body and Brain Connection is subpar. The graphics are crisp and clean for the most part, but have a decidedly low fidelity and sparseness, making this look like upscaled Wii software. Players are represented by their Xbox LIVE avatar, however the model consistently glitches out or contorts itself.

The sound design is obnoxious, using overly peppy themes, an annoying text sound and simple but loud sound effects. Some exercises require you to react to audio cues and the game will tell you when you‘re out of the Kinect sensor‘s range, however there are no subtitle display options for deaf gamers.

Body and Brain Connection is the poster child for how not to make a Kinect game. Control input is needlessly cumbersome, requires a large play area despite a low physical activity level and the game takes no real advantage of the Kinect sensor at all. Besides that, the brain training aspect was watered-down to accommodate motion controls and offers no real challenge or incentive to keep playing beyond some easy achievements.

Body and Brain Connection is a poor game no matter how you slice it and one I couldn’t recommend at $10, let alone it’s $50 asking price. It’s nothing more that a mediocre minigame collection that happens to have some basic math in it.

Positives:

+ Offers Multiplayer Exercises


Negatives:

- Twitchy, Unresponsive Controls
- HUD and Menu Interface are Cluttered
- Not Physically or Mentally Stimulating
- Neither the Minigame nor Brain Training Aspects are Well-Executed


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Game Forward Score: 1/5


Brian J. Papineau > Game Forward

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Body and Brain Connection (Kinect for Xbox 360) Quick Facts:

Genre: Brain Training / Minigames
Developer: Namco Bandai Games
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Release Date: February 8, 2010
Price: $49.99
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)