Looks like Dr. Kawashima has some competition - there's a new Japanese bod in town. And this time we've got a game straight from the oversized brain of a Professor - oooh. Big question is, should you be bothered if you've already got Nintendo's phenomenally successful Brain Training or More Brain Training DS games? Should you be interested if you don't? Read on.
Maths Training does exactly what it says on the game box - it's all about the maths. You won't have to shout the colour of words into your DS or count money. Here you'll be charged with adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. Feels like school already.
Maths Training takes the basic maths stuff we saw in Brain Training and expands on it. It uses The Hundred Cell Calculation Method - a 10, 30, 50 or 100 square grid with numbers running along the top row and the left hand side column - like those old multiplication tables you had to fill in at primary school. You battle against the clock as you write the answers to the problems on the DS's touch screen with the stylus. It's all about speed and getting the answer right of course - you'll be awarded a rank from the affable Professor Kageyama himself at the end.
As you'd expect, Maths Training comes with plenty of modes and options. You can start a daily training regime and chart sum-solving progress, jump straight into the Kageyama Method or go for gold medals in each of the game's 40 exercises, including nine times tables, fill the blanks addition and missing number multiplication. Maths training won't present you with complex algebra, but things can get pretty difficult, especially when you're playing against the editor and the news editor in a Maths Training lunchtime face-off. Speaking of multiplayer, the game also supports up to 16 players wirelessly with only one copy of the game, which is great. There's no online play though, although we can't imagine why anyone would feel compelled to play Maths Training over the internet.
As with Brain Training, the DS has a hard time working out what number you're writing, especially when you're going full pelt. This can be quite frustrating - two is two and four is four, but on the DS, things can often get muddled. When this happens you have to touch the clear button and write again. Bah.
As with much of Nintendo's Touch! Generations range, Maths Training will be a good gift for DS-owning non-gamers who have expressed some interest in using the handheld console to preserve the deterioration of their brain. We're thinking grandparents, parents, that sort of thing. Don't get it for younger brothers, sisters or cousins though. Maths Training is not cool.
Maths Training won't make you smarter, but it will make you quicker at solving simple sums. If that sounds like something you'd like to add to your CV then pick the game up. But don't expect anything more - maths isn't fun. It's just maths.