Both Brain Age and Big Brain Academy were hits that showed us all a more cerebral side of gaming, and helped the DS gain popularity among casual and hardcore gamers alike. Now, Brain Boost Beta Wave and Brain Boost Gamma Wave are two more games that promise to make you smarter than your non-gamer friends. If you any think these games will work miracles on your intellect, though, don't apply to MENSA just yet.
Both games begin with a superficial back story, told with cute characters and animations. You must help your robot friend find his missing thinking cap (Beta) or memory chip (Gamma). As you practice the so-called brain boosting minigames, you can go on to a challenge mode, which is identical to the practice mode, except that when you clear the levels you will travel from planet to planet searching for the robot's missing item.
The minigames in Gamma Wave are supposed to improve your memory, while Beta Wave's games work on your concentration. The instructions actually say that you must play the games for a minimum of three months before you'll notice any results. But here's the thing: If you can focus enough to play this game for three months without giving up and throwing your DS against a wall, your concentration does not need improving anyway.
One of the things that made Brain Age work was that it tracked your progress every time you played, and over time it was satisfying to see your gradual improvement. The games themselves wouldn't be able to stand alone just as minigames, because honestly they're not that fun. But the encouragement you received after doing a job well done made it all worth it.
Brain Boost, on the other hand, offers no way for players to track their progress. There is absolutely no way to tell from day to how you're doing or if the game is working at all like it says it will to improve your memory and concentration. You won't even receive any feedback based on how well you do on a game by game basis. Because of this, you'll end up feeling like you're just playing a set of really unfun minigames with no real purpose.
Which brings us to the question... why is this game on two separate cartridges? Each cartridge contains a set of five minigames (with four levels of difficulty each), all of which are available at the start of the game. There's no reason why this game couldn't have been released as a single cartridge with ten minigames, in two separate catagories (memory and concentration). If all of the content of both Beta and Gamma Wave were packaged in a single game, then it might have been worth picking up.
On first play, some of the games are actually a bit amusing, and a head to head multiplayer mode would have possibly made this game worth buying (you could prove beyond a doubt that you're smarter than all your friends).
But, if you're buying this game because you honestly think it's going to make you smarter, it won't. And if you're buying this game because you actually think it's going to be fun, it isn't. That's really the bottom line. As it is, with no real brain building content, combined with the ridiculousness of being on two separate cartridges, Brain Boost is not a smart choice for anyone.