Ahhh, the ancient art of citing academic endorsement in order to add scholarly sophistication. Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training. Prof. Kageyama’s Maths Training. Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. Reiner Knizia, on the other hand, is a little bit dubious.
He has no scientific institutions or followings to his name, being, as he is, a board games designer. So why are Eidos trying to hawk this puzzle compendium based on his doctorly credentials (note that in the UK it’s called “Dr Reiner Knizia’s Brainbenders” and in the US they’ve conspicuously dropped his name from the title)? The name is clearly designed to evoke memories of brain trainers, and yet the game sits uncomfortably between trainer and puzzler.
Accompanying digital Knizia - looking like the bastard offspring of Jimmy Carr and Gary Sinise - around the world, various cities present puzzles. There’s a battleships game in Greenland, a mastermind clone in Berlin, a basic memory task in Moscow, etc. It’s a shame that each city is limited to a single puzzle type, especially after the tasty puzzle platter of Layton.
Completing puzzles allows you to upgrade their difficulty, but with just 16 in total it’s not hard to have traversed the globe in a couple of hours. Kudos for shedding the obligatory gumph about enlarging the old thought muscle - but we can’t see brains bending under Knizia’s skimpy selection.
Apr 29, 2008