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Release Date: August 05, 2009
Genre: Games
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Genre: Games
Release Date: August 29, 2009
Genre: Games
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iTunes New Music Releases

Release Date: September 29, 2009
Genre: Rock
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Genre: Rock
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Release Date: April 22, 2009
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  • Chicago Transit Authority

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    • Chicago
    • For those of you who don't know, Chicago didn't always suck, and everyone in the band didn't always play a keyboard. When the band started off they were pioneers of rock and jazz fusion, and guita

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    • Supersuckers
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    • Cake
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      Comparisons to the Velvet Underground are

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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

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