With the abundance of educational software on the market, parents can face a difficult choice, and considering most of the software in that category is barely functional, the decision becomes even more difficult. On Nintendo DS, games that have become a hit, such as Brain Training, are aimed at an older market, but parents with young kids who are old enough to be interested in games will probably be looking for something more targeted. And that’s where Junior Brain Trainer 2 comes in.
Let’s be clear: Junior Brain Trainer 2 is aimed entirely at gamers 6 and up, but tops out for kids around 10 or 11 years old. While there are minigames, this is educational software aimed specifically at younger kids, so teenage and older gamers need not apply. Now, for parent gamers (and I suspect we compose a growing demographic), this game will serve as an appealing option, and will serve to entertain AND educate kids, a big bonus when picking out software for gamers that young.
Junior Brain Trainer 2 is a value-priced package containing 11 minigames, comprising 130 puzzles and activities. These minigames, utilizing the touch screen, range from geometric problems, to games where you are a frog skipping across a pond catching dragonflies while the lilypads sink beneath you. Nothing too fancy, but enough fun to keep the kids busy, learning, and engaged…..in a way that doesn’t obviously seem like homework to them. In terms of appeal, the game is vibrant enough to appeal to my four year old, though most of the minigames were too complex for her. Young family members in the 6-11 range were able to breeze through the game for the most part, and all of them had a pretty good time while playing. There were times when the action felt unresponsive, and some of the games were a little sparse with the directions, to the point where I had to step in and decipher to the young gamer what they had to do in order to proceed. Still, it was mostly a positive experience, and most of the games and activities tilted towards the fun side rather than the tedious side.
As I mentioned earlier, the visuals are bright and clean, what you would want from educational games, and the audio was cartoony enough for the demographic. I’ll use my daughter’s continued interest in the game as proof that it was engaging and fun to pick up for her. Getting back to the games, there were variations of solitaire and snake, plus a hangman game that could be fun for parents and their children to play together. There are essentially two modes, a progressive mode that allows players to start easy and have it build up, or a pot luck mode for kids at the upper end of the target age range. In that mode, kids get a random selection of minigames and activities to play.
So, be cognizant that the contents of this review and the score apply only if you have a younger player in the house, the target for Junior Brain Trainer 2. If you are a parent of a gamer, the game will entertain and educate in a way that’s more engaging than the bulk of educational software on the market, and especially the DS market. Some responsiveness issues , and the desire for more games and activities keep me from being more enthusiastic, but this is certainly a game that parents with young gamers should look into.