Recently, Nintendo has revived some series of works that have been sleeping in the depths of the treasure house with the help of the magical power of Switch. “Made in Valio” and “Brain Science Expert Dr. Ryuta Kawashima Supervising Adults’ Brain Exercise” have both returned to the hybrid system of Switch earlier this year, and it is almost time for “Flexible Brain School” to be reborn from the ashes. The latest work of “Flexible Brain School”, “Stretching the Brain Together” is the first work in the series in 14 years. As its title suggests, it brings more competitive focus to this series of classic brain teaser puzzles.
Just like the previous game, the puzzles in “Stretching the Brain Together” are divided into five categories (intuition, memory, analysis, numbers, and perception). Players can “stretch” their cognitive abilities by stretching. Each exercise only gives you 50 seconds. You must find the answer as quickly as possible, and the difficulty will increase as you get more correct answers. Most of the fun of these games comes from racing against time, training your thinking skills, and solving increasingly complex challenges in a very short time. If you choose the wrong answer by mistake, you will be deducted points, so think carefully every time you answer.
However, the quality of the mini-games provided by “Extending the Brain Together” is of mixed quality-and there are only 20 types, which is simply worse. Among the more attractive ones are “Cube Modeling”, where you need to break the cubes to fit the shape that appears on the screen; “Picture Mole” is a game of molesting, you must hit a mole with a specified item. Those boring games feel like math homework that is troublesome to do. For example, “Building Block Calculation” will ask you to select the correct number of blocks on the screen, and “Adjust Clock” will require you to turn the hands of the clock to the specified time. The purpose of this type of game should be to test your mind, but I was expecting more creative content instead of this kind of old-fashioned textbook.
Most of these stretching exercises were directly moved from “Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree”, which is the previous work in the series, which surprised me. This means that if you played “Wii Degree” 14 years ago, then you have almost read the content of “Brain Together”. Of course, its price is only NT$850, which is economical, and the younger generation of players who have never been in contact with this series may buy it. But then again, this approach feels lazy, there are not a few mini games originally, and most of them are no different from the Wii version.
But unlike its competitors, “Stretching the Brain Together” puts more emphasis on multiplayer games. Up to four players can compete on the same stage, and each participant can choose their own difficulty, which is very suitable for the whole family to have fun. If you are playing in two-player mode, you can choose to use touch control in handheld mode, otherwise you have to use Joy-con or professional controllers. Playing against relatives and friends helps to bring extra tension to these limited-time mini-games, and because they can be completed all at once, it is fun to play with other people.
However, even if you are playing alone, it does not mean that there is no competition and challenge. “Ghost Battle” allows you to fight against ghost data from relatives, friends, or random players around the world. This sounds a bit scary, but in fact, the game creates a “ghost” from your play record, and then releases it to challenge other players around the world. This ghost will contain some data, such as which category of game you are the strongest and which category is the weakest. In addition to ghosts, there are also online rankings for each test, as well as quizzes that challenge you in a variety of different categories.
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do except for stretching your head, taking quizzes, and competing with friends in these mini games. If you collect gold coins from all the stretching exercises in the stretching mode, you can unlock the “Super Stretch” mode, where all the stretching exercises will start from the advanced class, but the content is almost the same, which is more difficult. Also, as long as you play the game and earn coins, you can buy dozens of costumes for your character. But I lost interest all of a sudden, because the character can do nothing but stand motionless on the screen.
I must regret to say that the quality of the series of first-party games released by Nintendo in 2021 is very stable, but the ending of “Stretching the Brain Together” is disappointing. Most of its only 20 mini-games were directly torn off and pasted from the “Wii Degree” 14 years ago, and because there was not much content, they were finished quickly. Of course, playing with relatives and friends may be fun in a short time, but I can hardly imagine how many people will be able to return to this game after playing a few.