Monday, September 20, 2010

Review: ThinkSMART for the Nintendo DS

I received ThinkSMART for Nintendo DS for Ages 8+.  ThinkSMART is a game in the same genre as games such as Brain Age and Big Brain Academy. It features six categories of puzzles—language, memory, mathematics, spatial reasoning, grasp, and logic. These categories are intended to exercise both right and left brain skills.

Thinksmart: Ages 8+
Each category contains three varieties of puzzles and each puzzle type can be played individually. The game also allows the player to play groups of randomly chosen puzzles in Sprint, Marathon, or Olympic modes which have varying difficulty and length of time required. The game can also be played in a multiplayer mode with other DS players who have the game card.

I found the skill levels of the puzzles to be uneven, some being too easy to provide any challenge and others which were more what I expect from games in this genre. ThinkSMART did feature some different kinds
of puzzles which I have not seen in other games of the genre such as mazes and spatial reasoning puzzles.

There were some negatives to the game which don't necessarily prevent enjoyment of the game. First, the instructions were so brief and limited that some of the games required experimentation to figure out what the goal of the puzzle was and also how to input the answers so that the game would count a correct answer. Additionally, a few of the questions were so ambiguous that multiple answers were possible although the answer the game would count as correct was usually obvious. Second, at times, the response of the game to stylus input resulted in wrong answer input with misread letter/number input or too slow response to drawing on the maze category.

ThinkSMART for Nintendo DS (Ages 8+) is a game intended for adults, but it is appropriate for older kids and teens as well. ThinkSMART provides both the opportunity for quick distraction when the player has a few extra minutes as well as a more involved challenge when desired. I found the individual puzzle option most interesting as I could choose the puzzle type myself and avoid the few too easy categories in the game. Also, though I did not have the opportunity to play ThinkSMART in the multiplayer mode, I think competing against another player would make the multi-puzzle modes more fun than I found them to be.

While I would not recommend ThinkSMART for Nintendo DS as a player's first purchase in the brain exercise/puzzle genre of games, this game provides additional challenges for the player who enjoys these types of puzzles.  You can purchase ThinkSMART games for Nintendo DS and Wii at multiple retailers and online at Amazon.com.  There are two versions available for DS, one for younger kids and one for ages 8+, and a family game for Wii that can entertain up to 16 players!

Disclosure:  I was provided ThinkSMART for Nintendo DS and Wii for review in exchange for my honest opinion.  No further compensation was provided.

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