On March 21st, 2007 PSX Extreme was invited to attend Midway's Press Event right here in New York City. Midway scoped out Shop Studios as their venue for the second time and it was quite an enjoyable event complete with a cocktail hour thereafter. Most important though were the games Midway had on display, one of which was the PSP puzzler Hot Brain.
Hot Brain is part of the new mainstream sensation that has affected the puzzle genre with games such as Brain Age and Wario Ware. Riding on the success of the aforementioned two, Hot Brain will feature various puzzle types and categories such as logic, memory, math, language and concentration. Within each category are sub-categores from where you'll be able to pick your games. All of the games I went hands on with were actually very entertaining and some were also challenging. There was a language game that required you to select which one of the word choices rhymes with the highlighted word. It may sound easy, but the game does throw curves at you to throw you off and mess up. Additionally, there was a memory game that required you to repeat a sequence that the CPU performs. There's a concentration game that has you matching the ends of tangled strings from where they start and where they stop. The variety of games is pretty good, so it's sure to keep you playing for quite a while. And the various difficulty levels keep the challenge flowing, making you continuously improve your previous skills and better your records.
The game's personality is an Einstein-esque man in a lab-coat, who is voiced by the hilariously awesome Fred Willard. The character will be your guide, instructor, and announcer, as Fred Willard has recorded a bunch of amusing one-liners for the game. Clearly, because this is a simple brain teaser game, the controls will be extremely easy and simple. In fact, they were so simple that my girlfriend was able to immediately pick up the game without me having to explain it -- this is someone whose last console was a Sega Genesis and her favorite game is the original Sonic.
Various game modes will allow for various types of competition. The Practice mode is actually the main mode of the game, and the reason for that is because 'practicing stimulates the mind and improves test scores'. Your test score will be measured up to 100, and your grades will be anything from cold brain, to lukewarm, to warm, to hot, and on fire -- thus, Hot Brain. Your skills from the practice mode will then be put to the test in The Test mode. Test will take you through various categories and challenges, and will then rank you at the very end based on your performance.
Then you have the multiplayer games Brain Race and Think Tank. Brain Race is the competitive mode with up to 4 players. Think Tank is the co-operative mode where up to 4 players work together through the puzzles, raising the temperature of the brain on screen until it can be raised no more. It doesn't seem like Hot Brain is online, so you'll have to have your friends near you when you play. But perhaps game sharing will be enabled, so you'll only need one or two copies to play with 2-4 people.
If you love the Brain Age and Wario Ware games for the Nintendo DS, you should absolutely love Hot Brain. Midway will be releasing the brain teaser this Summer exclusively for the PSP, and that's just in time for your long vacation trips, plane rides, train rides, ship rides, road trips, boring nights at home, and whatever other reason you can think of. Brain Age will be the ideal pick up and play game for the PSP.
3/27/2007 Arnold Katayev