Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All
Left Brain Right Brain (DS) artwork

Left Brain Right Brain (DS) review


"After you've completed a set of exercises, the game will present a handy little chart that shows where you've proven your skills lie. Both left and right hand are rated, so you can see what difference there really is. For the most part, that's the hook behind the whole game. You're essentially playing just another Brain Age clone, only this one actually has a unique purpose that helps it stand apart from the crowded field of peers."



Are you ambidextrous? Left Brain Right Brain, a new game from Majesco, poses that question and lets you answer it by playing through an assortment of mini-games.

The way it works is that you turn on the game, tilt your DS sideways so you're holding it like a book, then participate in a few solo exercises that test your proficiency with whichever hand you indicated was dominant. Me, I chose to identify myself as right-handed. Anyone who has seen my penmanship efforts would certainly agree with that assessment. My choice was immediately followed by a few simple tests of my skill.

The game features 15 of these. None of them have dazzling visuals, but none of them need any. One diversion involves tapping the screen repeatedly with the stylus to pop balloons that move over the area. Another asks you to drag a ball through a maze without touching boundaries, while still another has you swipe falling comets away from Earth's atmosphere. By default you'll likely play each game twice, first with your dominant hand to establish a precedent, then (after rotating your DS so that the touch screen is on the opposite side) with your non-dominant hand to see how far you need to go to reach true ambidexterity.

At this point, might I offer a recommendation? Try each game at least three times if you desire even remotely accurate results. The problem is of course that if you attempt a game the first time with your dominant hand, you might not know just how everything works. You'll probably make a silly mistake or two, and then the game is over and you're onto the next one. When you come back with your non-dominant hand, you remember what you did wrong before--maybe you didn't have a feel for the touch sensitivity, or you didn't realize you were supposed to connect all of the dots in one continuous string rather than one chunk at a time--and you rectify your error. The result? It looks like your poorer hand is actually the champion!

An easy solution is to play any game twice with your dominant hand before you attempt it with the hand you believe to be inferior. Most modes will let you do that, so there's no reason not to. Doing so rectifies most of the game's potential issues right off the bat and makes the experience (and results) a great deal more interesting.

After you've completed a set of exercises, the game will present a handy little chart that shows where you've proven your skills lie. Both left and right hand are rated, so you can see what difference there really is. For the most part, that's the hook behind the whole game. You're essentially playing just another Brain Age clone, only this one actually has a unique purpose that helps it stand apart from the crowded field of peers. How many people haven't fantasized about a world where they can write equally well with either hand? I know I have!

The real question is whether Left Brain Right Brain will, as the package suggests, increase your tendency toward ambidexterity. I was keen to find out for myself, so I played it rather extensively and ultimately came away entertained but unconvinced. On the one hand (heh heh), there's definitely some improvement if you practice the games regularly as the on-screen text suggests doing. On the other, it's hard to say if that's self-improvement on a large scale or if you're just getting better at that particular skill set.

It's worth noting that according to the game, I was about 75% ambidextrous right out of the box. Years of faithful gaming were not wasted entirely, it would seem. Even after a few play sessions with each of the rather simplistic mini-games, there were times when my left hand would show my right hand up something fierce. Sometimes this was because of odd quirks (like music notes that don't dependably register when struck, or handwriting recognition that only recognizes 'B' when it is written a certain way) and others it was because the mini-games involve a certain bit of luck.

For an example of that, look no further than a game that has you drag a ball around a field inundated with stars. Most of them are red and will end your fun, while the blue ones should be collected to improve your score. This usually means sliding over toward the edge of the screen so you don't miss any goodies, but that also could lead to you getting nailed by one of the more plentiful 'bad' stars. There's little in the way of consistent scoring, even if you keep retrying with one hand or the other. In another diversion, you'll find yourself tapping the green panel as it alternates between an increasing number of on-screen outlines. Progression is determined at random and you might get a better score with a performance that is technically inferior. It's a little like defeating a poker champion simply because you were dealt the right cards.

Left Brain Right Brain isn't a particularly ambitious project except as a concept, since it includes an assortment of only 15 games that seldom last even a minute apiece. None of them seem particularly scientific. It's still a worthwhile package, though, simply because it challenges people in new ways and carries an affordable sticker price. The interface is reasonably intuitive and the game will nicely fill a few minutes of downtime here and there, kind of like Sudoku puzzles. Besides that, it's new and different enough that everyone in your family will likely get a kick out of trying for at least a few minutes (plus if they have a DS of their own, you can compete against them using only one card).

Are you ambidextrous? Try Left Brain Right Brain and find out!

Rating: 7/10

honestgamer's avatar
Staff review by Jason Venter (December 10, 2007)

Jason Venter founded HonestGamers in 1998, and since then has written hundreds of reviews as the site's editor-in-chief. He also is a prolific freelancer with game reviews, articles and fiction available around the Internet.

More Reviews by Jason Venter
Super Toy Cars (Wii U) artwork
Super Toy Cars (Wii U)

The mini-car racer is still a fun concept, but Super Toy Cars is neither refined enough nor interesting enough to justify your time and money.
Shovel Knight (Wii U) artwork
Shovel Knight (Wii U)

An attempt to revive old school sensibilities that works much better than similar efforts often do.
ReignMaker (PC) artwork
ReignMaker (PC)

It's a real shame the quality of the hybrid gameplay doesn't match the genius of the game's clever title.

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Left Brain Right Brain review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Left Brain Right Brain is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Left Brain Right Brain, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.