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Brain Quest DVD: Grades 3 - 5

Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Brighter Minds
Developer: Brighter Minds
Media: DVD/1
Players: Whole Family
Genre: Family/ Edutainment

Graphics & Sound:

As a DVD game, Brain Quest DVD: Grades 3 - 5 is a lot better than most of the same style. Where other games that can be played in a DVD player come off feeling cheap, Brain Quest DVD has a very polished feel that is definitely designed to grab the younger kids' attention.

Questions and answers show up in front of several swirling colors that are obviously designed to keep the younger quizzers' attention in check. Along with the backgrounds, the possible answers, when they are landmarks or historic persons, are typically in the form of drawings.

Each question and its answers are read to the player in a very clear voice and the game's various mini-games typically have characters with an over-the-top voice explaining the situation before you.


There are two types of events in Brain Quest DVD: Grades 3 - 5. There is the simple question and answer sections and the brief mini-games which do a good job of breaking up what could potentially be considered a monotonous series of questions (at least to a nine year-old).

There are six different mini-games throughout the disc and one will appear after every dozen or so questions. These little adventures not only serve as a distraction so that your kid will be recharged for the next round of questions, but also test out some other aspects of your child's development. One such exercise has aliens floating around in space and after they go away, you are supposed to piece one together by selecting a head, body and limbs from memory. This was a nice little game that will test not only the child, but also the parents watching from the sidelines.

Where the original products provided straight questions and answers in text form, a lot of the multiple choice answers in the DVD version use pictures and other visual cues to help represent the possible selections. For instance, one question concerning the Sphinx talked about the Greek myth surrounding the ancient riddler and the question and facts concerning this story were played out in a simple animation.

The questions concerning vocabulary were some of the better ones I have seen in edutainment titles. Instead of just asking the child to spell a word, it would show "ant" and ask what letter do you add to show what a dog does when he is hot. Then you add a letter to "pant" to make something that grows in the ground. After that "plant" becomes "planet" with another question. This chain of words is a great way to not only teach spelling, but also help create connections between words and ideas that the child might not have previously thought of.

There were two aspects of how this game handled your answers that impressed me. One thing is that, no matter which answer you choose, it will tell you the correct one. This means no negative feedback; where some games might say "Aww, too bad, the real answer was ...", this one just keeps going and just explains the answer. The other part that made this game stand out in my mind is that it would always give you just a little bit more information after explaining the answer. A question about the number of degrees in a right angle would be followed up by a fact about what a triangle with three equal sides is called. And there was also the occasional question that had a follow up for the parents (the Sphinx question above was followed up with "What animal has four legs in the morning, two at noon and three in the evening", the classic Sphinx riddle).


Brain Quest DVD: Grades 3 - 5's questions seem to be at just the right level for the grade and age range this version is geared towards. When asking questions about spelling and vocabulary, the structure is slightly different than the younger version (Grades 1 - 3) so that kids aren't just tacking on letters to the beginning of words, but also rearranging the letters and thus makes the overall question slightly more challenging.

Likewise, questions about mathematics tend to play towards a slightly older age group and show that the writers of the Brain Quest questions know who their audience is.

Game Mechanics:

Since Brain Quest DVD: Grades 3 - 5 can be popped into any DVD player, its controls are very simple and rely simply on the directional buttons on your remote and the Enter button. You use the remote's up, down, left and right buttons to highlight your selections and use the Enter button to select your answer. This system makes it easy to not only reorder letters in a word, but match values and even work through the simple mini-games.

The Brain Quest flash cards have been around for a long time, and the Brain Quest DVD game is just the natural progression that just gives you more bang for your buck.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Any computer or game system with a DVD ROM drive or a DVD Player

Test System:

Standard DVD Player, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated