Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! (commonly referred to as just Brain Age), which is known as Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? in PAL regions, is a game released for the Nintendo DS which uses puzzles to help determine the player's "brain age." The game was released on May 19, 2005 in Japan, April 16, 2006 in North America, and June 9, 2006 in Europe. The game is based off of Professor Ryuta Kawashima's studies in the field of neuroscience, although its actual effectiveness is arguable. Many studies have been done on the effectiveness of Brain Age, with conflicting results.
Brain Age has since had a sequel, Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day!, as well as a smaller DSiWare installment titled Brain Age Express: Math. Based on the success of Brain Age, other developers have tried to market games similarly titled and similarly structured, although few have met the success that Brain Age has. Brain Age and its sequel have sold a combined 17.41 million copies globally since release.
The game was also met with fairly positive reviews. Among the criticism for the game was poor handwriting or voice recognition. Brain Age holds an average rating of 78.1% on Game Rankings, and 77% on Metacritic.
Brain Age was the first DS game to be released on the Wii U Virtual Console when it made a surprise appearance on the Japanese Wii U eShop on June 4, 2014 as a free download available until the end of that month.
Similar to Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Brain Age is played by holding the DS sideways (often referred to as "book mode"), depending on whether the game is set on left or right handed mode. Brain Age has a variety of modes. Brain Age Check is one of these modes in which the player can do three puzzles, and depending on a variety of factors, is given a "brain age." The lower the brain age, the better the player preformed (the lowest being 20). Brain Age Check can only be done once a day for the brain age, but can be replayed without changing that day's brain age.
There are several different puzzles which may be used during the Brain Age Check. One of the most common is the Stroop Test, which shows one of several words (blue, black, red, or yellow), each in a random color. When the word is displayed, the player is instructed to say the word, not what color the word is. Stroop Test is the only puzzle that requires the microphone in the Brain Age Check, and the player has the choice to opt out of that puzzle if they cannot use their microphone at that time.
Speed Counting requires the player to count to 120 as fast as possible, out loud, without slurring, although it does not require the use of the microphone. Word Memory lists 30 different words for two minutes and then asks the player to remember as many as possible. Connect Maze shows the player a randomly generated area filled with circles with numbers and letters in them. The player must connect the circled numbers and letters one through thirteen and A through M without bumping into the wrong number or letter (e.g. A to one, B to two, C to three, etc).
Calculations X 20 gives the player twenty different simple mathematical equations which must be solved as quickly as possible. These equations can be either addition, subtraction, or multiplication. Number Cruncher gives the player a screen filled with numbers that may move. The player must then write the number of a certain colored number (e.g. name the number of blue numbers, and the player must answer that question according to the blue numbers onscreen).
There are other puzzles in Training mode, which allows the player to do several single puzzles for that day. If the player does one puzzle, then a stamp is put on the game's calender. Three puzzles in one day grants the player a larger stamp. If the player gains enough stamps, then they will unlock more puzzles, difficulties, or other options.
Training has many other puzzles not included in Brain Age Check. Calculations X 100 is exactly like Calculations X 20, except it has 80 extra equations. Reading Aloud requires the player to read an excerpt from a book aloud as quickly as possible. Low to High shows several boxes on the screen, which flash numbers for a short period of time and then asks the player to count the numbers from lowest to highest (remembering which number is in which box). Syllable Count gives the player a variety of phrases, which the player must determine the count of syllables in as quickly as possible. Head Count shows the player a small group of people (and gives the player a few seconds to count them). After that, a house falls on them and people will either exit or enter the house. Then the player must determine how many people are in the house. Triangle Math gives the player mathematical equations in a triangle (e.g. 3 2 - 1) and then asks them to solve it quickly. Time Lapse shows the player two analog clocks and asks the player to determine the difference of time between the two. Voice Calculation is basically Calculations X 20, however the player must say the answer instead of writing it.
In the European, Australian, and North American versions of Brain Age there is a Sudoku mode, which includes more than 100 Sudoku puzzles. The game divides these puzzles into Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced difficulties. When playing Sudoku with Brain Age, the game lets the player know when he or she makes a mistake and only allows the player to make five mistakes per Sudoku puzzle.