Reviewed: December 10, 2011
Released: September 13, 2011
Ubisoft’s Puzzler: Mind Gym 3D is a bit of an odd title for the 3DS. The basic concept is a lot like Brain Age: By playing the game every day, it’s supposed to enhance your brainpower over a period of 90 days. It even features a little animated doctor to back up its claims. Nintendo seems content letting the Brain Age franchise lie low for a while, and Mind Gym 3D aims to fill the gap.|
Mind Gym 3D’s puzzles and exercises are divided into four general categories: Memory, numerical, visual, and word. 90 daily exercises are divided up among them. Each of the categories also has five different types of minigames, for a total of 20 types and hundreds of individual puzzles. Each day, players complete an exercise from each category, and if they complete these exercises with a C or better, they have a chance to take on more puzzles and be graded. If you complete a challenge, then you get a tip from the virtual professor.
The different kinds of puzzles are, by and large, decent, and there’s a good variety within the 20 types. “Mind the Gap” presents players with words with missing letters and the players have to identify what letters are missing. In “What’s Next”, players are shown a series of objects, then must select from multiple choices what the next object would be. “Feed the Frog” features a frog with a number on its chest, and as flies pass by, you must touch flies with numbers that are divisible by the frog’s. In “Safe Cracker”, players are given a six-number combination to open a safe and have to remember it.
Unfortunately, there are still only 20 types of puzzles. The game may have only been designed to last a person 90 days, but only having 20 types of puzzles rapidly wear out their welcome. There are no unlockables or other treats for completing puzzles, unless you count the professor’s tips. There is no sense of progression in the game other than watching your grades rise.
There’s also a nagging feeling that this game really should have just been on the DS. The use of 3D in the game isn’t impressive at all, and with one notable exception, the game doesn’t have any benefit for being in 3D. That one exception is a puzzle where players are presented with a cube with missing blocks taken out of it, and must guess how many blocks were removed. Even then, though, every puzzle is also presented on the exact same blue background, and there isn’t much visual variety at all. Most of the game feels like a low effort attempt to fill the Brain Age gap in the 3DS lineup.
There isn’t much to praise in Mind Gym 3D. The presentation is terrible, and the science behind it is a little fishy. This isn’t to say it’s completely devoid of enjoyment. The puzzles are moderately enjoyable, but there should really be more variety. This would make for an okay budget title, but at a $40 price tag, it’s a complete rip-off. Unless you’re a die-hard puzzle fan who happens to spot this in a bargain bin, Mind Gym 3D isn't worth it.