On July 10th, Resco (known from Resco Explorer and Resco Keyboard Pro, which I both use often) released a public beta for their new brain training game: Resco Brain Gain. Brain games are popular lately, another example is Mastersoft Brain School which I reviewed earlier here. This review is based on one of the public beta’s, so if there are any changes made in the final release, they will not be included in this review. So it’s important to know that this review does not reflect the final release, but only shows you what is currently under construction, based on the current beta. Final release is planned for August 1st.
Installation and trial
The beta’s are time-limited to August 1st, since final release is planned for that date (I’m on holiday then, so that’s why I’m not reviewing the final release of Resco Brain Gain). The final version will have a 14 days fully functional trial.
Startup, the first test.
After first starting the game, you will meet Sophia, who is your personal trainer. She tells you that your objective is to improve your concentration and brain performance. You can immediately take the Brain Gain Test to get your first Brain Gain rating! While this is not necessary, I prefer to follow in-game suggestions the first time I play a game, since they usually suggest the most logical way to play a game.
In the first beta, there was an explanation of the user interface. While I usually like these kind of introductions, the interface was pretty selfexplanatory, and I think that that’s the reason why it is removed in the current beta (July 13). The game is devided into three areas:
* an information area at the top, with the number of questions and correct answers, test time, and Help, Back, and Exit buttons;
* a question area in the center;
* and an assignment area in the bottom, including a white area with the four possible answers. You will be able to chose one of these by tapping the screen or pressing the corresponding D-Pad button.
Your first test consists three random assignments, I’ll discuss mine here. First, there were 10 simple sums, like 4+2 and 0+1. Four possible answers are presented each time, and when you get the correct answer the background border turns green while the next question appears. If you answer wrong, the background border obviously turns red.
Quickly after finishing your first assignment (10 questions) your next task is presented. Several fruit items will be displayed on the screen, and you’ll need to remember how many of each are displayed. For each screen, you’ll be asked how many of a certain fruit you saw, and again you have the choice from four possible answers.
Next in line is a Shape Sequence game. You’ll need to find which shape fits on the place of the square.
These three tests were all really easy and I think everyone should be able to get a “100% correct” result on this, but the time it took for each set of 10 questions might vary of course. Sophia will inform you about your initial results, which are obviously not based on the amount of correct answers. You’ll be assigned a Brain Gain index, and we now understand that our goal is to improve that, in order to get as close to 100 as possible.
Sophia will tell you that, based on your current status, new games will be presented to you with a difficulty depending on your brain evaluation.
You’ll need to create a profile in which your progress can be saved. A stands for Analysis evaluation, M for Memory exercises, and C for Calculation. Gain obviously shows the conbined result of these values.
Pressing “Details” allows you to see your Brain Gain progress in a graph (Brain Gain on the Y-axis and Daily Tests on the X-axis).
Then we press the Back button in the top, and go back to the screen with the large Brain Gain meter. From now on, we can always access the Profiles page here in order to change the current player, see player details, etc; or we can press Play in order to play more games and advance in our brain training. When I tap “Play”, Sophia tells me that I can do some Training before doing a Test. It is important to know that only the first test on each day can add to your Brain Gain level, all other “test”s you take as considered as training. Personally I prefer to be able to do a test whenever I want to, but since the “daily tests” are part of the software’s design, this is fine.
Chosing Training gives you two new options: Generate, where a custom training schedule is made for you, or Select, where you can chose your questions yourself.
After chosing Generate, three random games are presented.
Edit: I’ve just recieved a note from Resco, saying “even though generated training looks like compeltely random (at least on the beginning, when there are some not played modules) it isn’t random – modules are selected by your results. So when you play some module bad, it will be added to list of modules for your generated training.
Examples of games you can get: a variation on the sums game: here we have to add fruits (see the screenshot below on the left). Another game gives us a sum where we have to fill in the symbols ourself, these can be – -, – +, + -, or + + (screenshot below to the right). Obviously these games are open for higher difficulty later, as we progress through the game, just by making the numbers larger for example, or adding different fruits which have to be ignored. There are many more games, just try the beta to discover all of them.
After these three games, progress is showed. Even when you get 30 out 0f 30 correct, that doesn’ t guarantee a 100% scoring. For example, I had a 73% score after answering all answers correct. I think the elapsed time is taken into account when your results are calculated.
Since this was just a training, there are no effects on your score.
The Select item is very interesting. Here you can just chose the game you want to play, and they are all nicely organized based on their category! After chosing a Module, you can also pick the level, and then get started. You can immediatly pick the hardest levels, I think it might have been nice if these could have been locked until you reach a certain Brain Gain level. On the other hand, one could argue that if you chose to let games be Generated for you, these are based on your Brain Gain level, and these Selectable levels are perfect for giving you free training. In total 37 games can be selected from this screen.
Resco Brain Gain features more games than the Brain games that I’m familiar with, and that is immediatly it’s strongest point, I think. Just by trying each of them, you can already spend a nice while getting familiar with the program.
While the software is still in beta stages, already a Mute function was added (which was really needed in my opinion, since before the mute button you had to disable the system sounds in order to mute the game), and several bugfixes/improvements have been implemented. I suggest everyone to just *download the beta* and give it a try. Of course a beta doesn’t guarantee a bug-free program, but I found it to be quite stabile. Just play the games to get familiar with them and have some fun, it’s free until August 1st. And if you discover an error, or have a suggestion, it’s only a small step to *let the Resco team know about it*!