The full name of this game — Professor Kageyama’s Maths Training — should clue you in — yep, it’s yet another brain training “non-game”.
This time Nintendo goes back to basics, eschewing the reaction-based tapping exercises, Americanised aural exams and arduous memorisation tests. It’s purely a number cruncher now, with dozens of daily activities designed to enhance how fast you process simple calculations. However, although this focus may prove to be more enticing to a select few casual gamers, others won’t see a point to it at all — we already have (at least) one dedicated class to the subject at school, and this non-game doesn’t even try to go beyond rudimentary mathematics (no trigonometry, epidemiology etc.)
But hey — non-games are all the rage right now, and if your basic maths isn’t quite up to scratch and you feel somewhat embarrassed about it all, Maths Training is a great “it’s-a-game!” way to seek self-improvement.
The touch screen interface works in a similar fashion to the Brain Training titles. The DS is held on its side and the left screen shows the equation, ray diagram, flash card and/or whatever maths problem you have to solve; the touch screen is where you jot down your answer. The handwriting recognition is accurate, but it still records mistakes if your strokes are too curvy. This can make writing out answers quite an exercise in self-control... which shouldn’t be what makes this game tough, but it is. The exercises are quite addictive, though, especially with the stringent time limits in place, but if you’ve never been a big fan of maths, don’t expect them to turn you over a new leaf.
Perhaps the worst thing about Maths Training is the lack of unlockables. You can track your progress on a daily basis, but the rewards for perseverance are nothing. Sure, you open up new challenges after every five days or so, but the exercises are all too similar. After all, basic maths is... well, basic.
Still, if you want to teach someone a lesson in perhaps the nicest way possible, there’s no better way than Professor Kageyama’s Maths Training.