Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training was never released in North America. Here’s why the game is special and still deserves a worldwide release.
One of the least appreciated features of the Nintendo Switch is that the console has no region. Unlike previous Nintendo systems, the player can buy and play games from any region, not just the one they live in. Foreign e-stores are easily accessible to buy games and even play Super Famicom Online.
Nintendo has been pretty good at publishing its content in all regions, but there are some exceptions. Perhaps the biggest and strangest is Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch — the Brain age title America never got.
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Brain age is one of Nintendo’s most ubiquitous and important seventh-generation discoveries. The franchise is incredibly popular, with five entries on the Nintendo DS, 3DS, and Switch. It’s a casual piece of lifestyle software that first targeted the blue ocean audience drawn to the Nintendo DS.
Essentially, Brain age is a compilation of minigames that strikes a balance between cognitive testing and engaging gaming experience. With statistics similar to Wii Fit, Brain age it became a lingering piece of software that most users would use almost daily.
Due to the success of the franchise and the meteoric success of the Switch, it’s strange that the newest iteration has never made it to North America. If the game was released only in Japan, it would be more understandable. However, the game was released in Europe as well, naturally with full English support. Since the game was released in early 2020, it was always going to be dwarfed by heavyweights of the year like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, even with a worldwide release. However, it could have been a nice complement to Clubhouse games Casual appeal and bolstered the Blue Ocean Library in North America.
Still, with the Switch’s regionless design, it’s pretty easy to access Dr. Kawashima’s Mind Training. It is also a worthwhile effort, as the game is very smart. The focus of Brain age is primarily educational, so the minigames are a far cry from traditional experiences like Mario Party. However, the success of Brain age From a gaming perspective, it was always his ability to use Nintendo hardware to the fullest. On DS, this meant taking advantage of the touchscreen, and on Switch it means taking advantage of the Joy-Con.
Dr. Kawashima’s Mind Training uses Joy-Con smarter than most games on the system. The infrared camera is legitimately used, showing its potential as clearly as 1-2 switch. One of its best implementations is a reflex-based rock-paper-scissors minigame, which is capable of tracking hand movements in the real world incredibly well. It is a testament to the amount of innovative and interesting technology that goes into the Joy-Con. The game also makes extensive use of the touchscreen, as it is one of the few games that requires handheld mode. The player must keep their system vertically, which is a unique way to interact with the Switch.
Dr. Kawashima’s Mind Training it’s far from the best Switch exclusive. In some respects, it is quite superficial. But it is a game worth downloading and accessible for short daily sessions. It is attractive in a similar way to Ring Fit Adventure or Nintendo Lab. The game extends the hardware in a unique way that is especially attractive to all demographic groups. Hopefully, Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch will still see a worldwide release.
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