Nov 12, 2007
We would love to be able tell you that with diligent practice at Flash Focus: Vision Training in Minutes a Day, your powers of vision will grow freakishly, allowing you to dole out Bruce Lee death chops to those in your periphery, astonish police sketch artists with your photographic memory, and spot cleavage in New York from your deck in San Francisco. Look closely at the following text: Sorry, it ain’t gonna happen.
Just as expecting spiritual sister Brain Age to morph you into Stephen Hawking is unrealistic, expecting Flash Focus to transform your eyeballs into super vision spheres will leave you disappointed (and sore in the retinas). Yet, while optometrists can breathe a sigh of relief, the game has something to offer on its own, modest terms.
"Vision" is really a catch-all for a variety of skills the game attempts, through a passel of minigames, to improve in the player. Sports-based games like Table Tennis, Baseball, and Boxing test your Hand-Eye Coordination, or at least your ability to tap and swipe really fast with the stylus. A set of flash-number-recall-number games give your Momentary Vision (or more accurately, your Working Memory) a good workout. Don’t think you can hide over there behind the cones and the rods, Peripheral Vision and Dynamic Visual Acuity, you’ll get put through the paces too.
Just like Brain Age, you unlock Flash Focus’ activities from day to day, and just like that game, you’ll see your progress both in the individual activities and your overall Eye Age charted in a set of graphs that look like they could be slapped together in Excel in five minutes. It’s satisfying in an I'm-a-cyborg sort of way to imagine that your eyes can be upgraded over time. Look here, the graphs prove it! Science graphs!
But when the excitement fades, and the realization that you still can’t see street signs while driving sets in, it becomes harder to justify why the minigames aren’t more fun. If Flash Focus can’t improve our peepers, it might as well entertain them, and there’s nothing in the game to do so once you bore of getting better at its activities.
Given all the other ways your DS can enhance you, as well as the plethora of portable gaming, reading and napping options on your train ride to work, we can’t unreservedly recommend Flash Focus. For those who are truly desperate to gain any advantage they can in their vision - all the moneyed falconers and old men crossing the street out there - well, play it for a few weeks, but don’t be surprised if you spot an unwanted space in your wallet where twenty bucks used to be.