Get Better Gear!

Premier Sponsors

Other World Computing

TechRestore

Top 5 Free Apps

Release Date: August 05, 2009
Genre: Games
Release Date: May 22, 2009
Genre: Games
Release Date: August 29, 2009
Genre: Games
Release Date: March 27, 2009
Release Date: August 07, 2009

iTunes New Music Releases

Release Date: September 29, 2009
Genre: Rock
Release Date: September 20, 2009
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Genre: Rock
Release Date: August 25, 2009

Top 5 Paid Apps

Release Date: April 22, 2009
StickWars $0.99
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Genre: Games
Bloons $0.99
Release Date: April 05, 2009
Genre: Games

Discover New Music

  • Live at the Magic Bag, Ferndale, MI

    • 6 out of 10
    • Supersuckers
    • Man, there's nothing like good, old fashioned, rock and roll... add a bit of industry resentment to that with a double-shot of cynicism, and you get one of the best "new" rock bands going. This album
  • Spilt Milk

    • 10 out of 10
    • Jellyfish
    • The second and final album from this power-pop group makes me wish Jellyfish had been able to make just one more record together. The album is best enjoyed as a whole piece, flowing from one track to
  • How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

    • 6 out of 10
    • U2
    • U2's latest entry is a mostly underwhelming collection of songs that does very little to sound any different from its equally pedestrian predecessor, 2000's "All That You Can't Leave Behind." While

  • The Printz

    • 8 out of 10
    • Bumblebeez 81
    • Part white rap, part alternative, part pop, and part rock, the Bumblebeez grabbed a hold of me with "Pony Ride," and didn't let go.

      This group does a marvelous job of moving seamlessly be

  • Machine Gun Etiquette

    • 8 out of 10
    • The Damned
    • Punk rock is mostly associated with three chords and a bad attitude, but the Damned were one of the few bands of the era bent on bringing musicianship and a good sense of humor to the scene. And while

Reader Specials

Visit Deals On The Web for the best deals on all consumer electronics, iPods, and more!

In-Depth Review

Brain Training Unotan: A Nice Noggin Workout

Brain exercise games have developed into a cottage industry over the past few years, so it's not a surprise that many of them have appeared on the App Store. They're certainly perfect for an iPod touch or an iPhone: They emphasize short pick-up-and-play sessions that, as an added benefit, improve your cognitive abilities. I think some developers tend to oversell the effects of these games, but studies have shown that they certainly don't hurt, and they can give a big boost to elderly people.

SoftBank's Brain Training Unotan, published on the App Store by Softservice Corp., delivers what you expect from this type of game, with 15 exercises spread across the memory, concentration, and intuition areas. Each exercise is timed, and when you're done, you receive a score that dictates how developed your brain is in that area, expressed as a percentage. I didn't feel like I should put much stock in the percentages: If I score 20% in Remember Faces, does that mean I'd be lousy on a witness stand?

The percentages actually demonstrates how far you've progressed in that exercise. In one case, I hit 100% before time ran out, so there seems to be an end point for each activity. Once you've mastered an exercise, there isn't much point in doing it again, although I suppose your brain still sees some benefit from repeating it. Unfortunately, you have to start at level one again: there's no way to choose a higher starting point. In addition, there's no way to pause the game while in the middle of an exercise; I never received a call while playing, so I don't know what happens in that situation.

My final nitpick involves the Find the Goal exercise, which is in the intuition category but was very unintuitive, even with the description you can read before playing. A demonstration would have been helpful. Then again, maybe that was a test of my intuition abilities, and I failed.

Overall, Brain Training Unotan is a nice entry in the noggin workout category. Thankfully, the ability to distribute updates to an App Store selection means SoftBank can address the game's shortcomings, which are few.

Just The Facts

Pros:

  • Fun game with plenty of exercises to keep you busy
  • Each exercise scales nicely, with a few easy warm-ups that become progressively harder

Cons:

  • No way to pause while in the middle of an exercise
  • No way to jump straight into an exercise's higher level when replaying it
  • The Find the Goal exercise isn't easy to figure out at first

Post Your Comments

  Remember Me  Forgot your password?

Not a member? Register now. You can post comments without logging in, but they'll show up as a "guest" post.

Commenting is not available in this section entry.