The success of Brain Age on the Nintendo DS had one very immediate effect on the handheld gaming scene, in that any game with the word Brain in the title and simplistic mini-games was bound to get a green light, whether it deserved it or not. Majesco’s Left Brain Right Brain (Use Both Hands – Train Both Sides) teeters precariously between these two classifications. On one hand (ha!) it is a nifty little time-waster that is quite interesting conceptually – using drills to train your off hand to function as well as your dominant one. On the other hand the game boils down to 15 relatively boring mini-games and a simple progress tracking mechanism that are hardly worth $US 20 of your hard-earned monies.
Don’t be fooled by the title. While the back of the box makes allusions to right-brained creative thinkers and the more logic left-brained folks, those two distinctions never really come into play in LBRB. Instead you’ll find yourself whacking moles, moving a dot through a maze, tapping the screen to reveal pictures, tracing lines – you know, action games. No real thinking involved. Basically you try things a few time with your dominant hand and then the screen flips, allowing you to complete the same task with the other, comparing your scores and delivering a handy (again!) synopsis of your performance.
After playing the game for hours upon hours, I don’t find myself any better at using my left hand, no matter what the game scores say. While some of the games are decidedly harder with my off hand (the maze in particular), most of them are easily conquered with either hand. Tapping the screen repeatedly to unveil a picture? Come on now. An interesting tendency of mine I noticed while playing the game was to actually move the DS with my right hand in order to properly position my left hand to type. This made me realize that my left hand, while getting some of the most important jobs a hand can have, will always be my right hand’s little bitch.
Aside fro the standard mode, the game features a R VS L mode where you can race a ghost of your dominant hand’s performance through the mini-games, as well as single-card download play, allowing you to share the games with your friends who were perhaps wise enough to read this before going out and picking the title up.
As stated previous, Left Brain Right Brain has a very interesting concept that I would love to explore in more depth – perhaps on the Wii where it wouldn’t be as easy to pull off the old dominant hand assist trick – but the depth I crave just isn’t here.