Brain Juice Energy Despite what the tree-hugger brigade say, animals aren't smart. Not dolphins, not monkeys and certainly not dogs. If they were, Fido would be sat at this computer surfing the internet instead of you.
So when Digital Chocolate decided to compare the players of it's first brain training game, Brain Juice, to different creatures ranging from a tortoise to a greyhound, we weren't that impressed.
The people behind Brain Juice were possibly paying attention. The follow up to that initial IQ-improvement game has ditched the animal equation altogether, and is relying on something more tangible. Well, a little more tangible, anyway.
Brain Juice Energy is the name and, for the large part, it's the same game. Like the other brain training titles out there (a craze started by Nintendo and brought to mobile by Digital Chocolate and Gameloft, among others), you're presented with a daily dose of cerebral challenges for which you're assessed, with progress being charted on a graph.
These challenges fall into three broad categories: visual recognition, memory and mental arithmetic. You'll face one exercise from each every day and, depending upon your success, you'll be given a score, which roughly translates into your brain's power at that given moment. Hence, the wattage metaphor of Brain Juice Energy.
The exercises themselves are plucked from a pool of 12, with four each for the three categories. Relatively simple in execution, the emphasis is on solving a problem rather than the nimbleness of your fingers.
For instance, the visual recognition tests depend on you identifying pairs, picking out words from a grid and similar tasks, and pressing the relevant key on your handset. Memory exercises involve remembering door codes or the path across a floor containing hidden banana peels. And the mathematics exercises are simple (well, we say 'simple...') cases of 4 x 14 ??“ 3.
As a game, then, it's easy to interact with, even if you don't know the answers. One of the criticisms of the original Brain Juice game was its reliance on your physical dexterity and how quickly you could enter the answers to each question.
There's still a timed element to Brain Juice Energy, but its far less important than it was, and the controls have been given more thought so you need to press fewer buttons (though anyone with an arthritic thumb will be at a distinct disadvantage).
For all that, though, it's still not hugely enjoyable to play, something from the first game that hasn't been remedied. Brain Juice Energy just feels too much like homework to be fun, despite the attractive animations and the plinky-plonky sound effects that are, for a change on mobile, rather pleasant.
This is partly due to the straight-laced atmosphere that pervades the game (Dr. Bulbert, your in-game guide, looks like something from a GCSE maths textbook) and the fact that when you play the challenges, you don't actually feel like you're playing recreationally.
It's a tricky act to pull off and, ironically, requires more thought than Digital Chocolate has seemingly put into Brain Juice Energy. Brain Challenge and Brain Genius have managed it, proving that education and entertainment can coexist harmoniously. Brain Juice Energy still needs a little after-school tutoring before it can join them at the top of the class.
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