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Brain Jump & Brain Jump 2 #XBLIG Review

“Brain Jump & Brain Jump 2”

By: Underwood Lynch

It’s no secret that the majority of gamers could hear an example of a genre and rally off a list of game examples to fit it. It’s even less of a secret that a lot of people hold the words “educational video game” with such low regard that only a limbo champion could possibly understand where this sentence is going. While the few mainstream games that attempt to be educational just can’t seem to let go of the idea that they’re supposed to actually test your brainpower rather than your ability to roll a dice, there are some truly challenging educational games out there. One of this pair is such an example, and the other casually reminds you that anyone over the age of sixteen may not be as intelligent as they claim to be.

Sorry, let’s try again. Own a 360? Do you occasionally find your Halo matches interrupted by small children wanting to join in, only to not live up to the standards expected by a team deathmatch? There’s something here you might be interested in.

* Developer – Bandana Games
* Genre – Educational
* XBL Marketplace URL – Brain Jump, Brain Jump 2
* Release Date – 04/16/2011 (Brain Jump), 06/02/2011 (Brain Jump 2)
* Try or Buy? – Try (Brain Jump first)
* Price – 80 MSP ($1) each
* Rating – 2/5 (Brain Jump), 2.5/5 (Brain Jump 2)

Brain Jump:
“Jump start your brain! Exercise your math, words and puzzle skills across 11 different games. Give your thumbs a rest and give your brain a workout by playing this game.”

Brain Jump 2:
“Jump start your brain! 10 challenging games including Sudoku, anagrams, odd one out, general knowledge and money.”
– Xbox Live Marketplace Descriptions

I. Game Mechanics
In terms of gameplay mechanics both Brain Jump and Brain Jump 2 play exactly the same but we’re beyond the point in time where gamers expect a sequel to be one hundred percent different to the original. Upon loading each game, you’re presented with a list of different game types and a table containing the best score from previous attempts. You select with the control stick and A. It’s not exactly neurosurgery. Each version of the game has entirely different challenges from the other, ranging from simple arithmetic to picture-based memory challenges. Each question in a subject is multiple choice (with the exceptions of wordsearches, Sudoku etc) There’s a difficulty setting which doesn’t change the questions, but only the time you have to answer them which isn’t that different.

II. Game Modes
The first Brain Jump features eleven game modes; Arithmetic, Math Picture, Sequences, Missing Symbol, Shape Recogniton, Spelling, Wordsearch, Hangman, Sliding Puzzle, Memory Game and Matching Pairs. This selection is a lot more educational-based than that from the sequel. Brain Jump 2 boasts ten game modes; Money, Sudoku, Anagram, Memory Game, Odd One Out, National Flags, Capital cities, Books, Films, Music – 1970’s, Music – 1980’s, Music – 1990’s and Music – 2000’s. It’s worth noting that the Memory Game in each different version is slightly different but not spectacularly.

III. Education and Entertainment
The genre for both games is credited as “educational”, but the definition of the word “game” is something to derive entertainment from, but is it possible to do both? The first game is a lot easier in terms of challenges and content, placing it within the realms of educational. The second is focused more on films, books and music. This turns the sequel into less of an educational tool and more of a “pub quiz”.

IV. Critique

The Good

Educational. The first Brain Jump would certainly occupy younger gamers for a period of time.

Several Game Modes.
There’s a lot of different challenges here and things to keep coming back to, if you’re so inclined.

Value.Considering the amount of content, either Brain Jump is excellent value for money.

Region Functionality. There’s a choice in the options menu to change the currency in questions to a specific type depending on where you live. Not many games would bother doing that.

The Bad

No Multiplayer.
You could have been beautiful, Brain Jump. There’s so much potential here for a party night with Brain Jump 2.

Erratic Difficulty. The first Brain Jump’s questions are somewhat varied in difficulty, making it accessible for all ages. The second will make you cry.

Nothing Original.
There’s a distinct lack of originality here.

Minimal Presentation. Everything appears rather plain and isn’t that appealing to the eye.

V. Wrap-Up

Brain Jump and Brain Jump 2 are both games with high ambitions but both fall into different holes. The first falls into the trap of trying to be an educational game but such a purpose is unfulfilled in this day and age of young people wanting to spend their free time playing action games or at the very least multiplayer games with other people, as opposed to sitting alone and practicing maths. Brain Jump 2 has a lot of potential to be a fun party trivia game but the lack of multiplayer really lets it down.


One response

  1. Mike

    Agree with this review. What makes both BrainJump games worh a punt is the amount of content. You search on XBLIG and you get wordsearch games, Suduko games, etc. With BrainJump you get those … plus ten more games. So for both games you get 21 games for 2 bucks. That’s great value for money.

    August 13, 2011 at 4:42 am

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