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Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Publisher: Microids
Developer: Magic Pockets
Medium: Digital/Disc/Cartridge
Players: 1-4
Online: No
ESRB: E

As you can probably guess from its title, Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness is a wannabe successor to the old Brain Age franchise. That’s not inherently a bad thing, of course. Those games were great, and it’s been the better part of a decade since Nintendo last released a game in the series in North America. Plus, personally, seeing as I loved Sony’s attempt at grabbing that market back when Brain Age was a much more recent memory, I’m certainly not going to complain about mimicry now.

What I will complain about, however, is that Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness is painfully boring and completely devoid of personality. It’s one of those games where you can look at the box art (or, at least, the image at the top of the eShop page) and get a pretty good sense of exactly what you’re in for. I mean, seriously, go look to that link in the last sentence and look at that picture. It captures this game’s banality perfectly.

The issue may be that the game takes the Rubik’s Cube theme a little too much to heart. The colours are all based on the colours from the classic Rubik’s Cube; couple that with bland muzak that’s constantly wafting over the proceedings, and you feel like you’re stuck in some early ‘80s hell.

Likewise, the games are all built around cubes. I’ve got to be honest: I’d never had a strong feeling about shapes before playing Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness, but afterwards, I came away thinking that cubes might be the most boring shape of all.

I mean, it’s probably not the shape’s fault specifically that the games here are all so soporific.It just feels that way when you’re counting the cubes on different sides of the line to see which one has more, or comparing equations that are all in cubes, and watching cubes with letters on them flash by the screen as you try and figure out what word is being spelled out, and…uh…right…sorry, I drifted off for a second there. There’s also a Cube 2048, and cube-whatever else. Honestly, even if there are something like a dozen-plus different minigames that test your math, spatial reasoning, and linguistic skills, they all look so similar that they still all feel the same.

In theory, Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness gives you all these games so that you can practice your skills and improve on its tests, but it’s not like the tests are any better. I constantly found my attention drifting as I tried focusing on where a specific square landed when a cube exploded, or guiding one cube towards another cube on a path across other cubes. Cubes, cubes, and more cubes, and at no time does the game threaten to become interesting.

Maybe there’s a reason why Nintendo has seemingly abandoned brain training games. Maybe this sort of thing now works better on a smartphone. Maybe Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness is just a bad example of a totally viable genre. You can pick your argument, and you’d probably be right. Just about the only thing I’m sure of after playing this game is that I’m ready for a good, long nap.

Microids provided us with a Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C