Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness review (PS4)

Microids has just released Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PCs. The name “Rubik” is almost synonymous with puzzles, we were curious to see how this license was going to turn out.

The Rubik’s Cube is quite possibly the most iconic of all the physical toy/puzzle hybrids out there, easily edging out things like the myriad of tangram sets and puzzles you no doubt have seen or owned at some point. Microids’ new game takes the cube and applies the “Dr Kawashima Brain Training” formula that was so popular in the Nintendo DS days to it, creating a new puzzle experience that adds to versatility to the Rubik formula. Instead of Dr Kawashima you get Professor Rubik, and instead of Brain Training you get Brain Fitness – but you get the idea.

Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness is a collection of mini-games that have all been inspired to a small or large degree by the Rubik’s Cube. The game includes over 25 different mini-games and puzzle challenges for you to tackle, and there’s a decent amount of diversity in there because the games are clustered around different types of mental challenges. Some emphasize memory, other spatial reasons, and some rely on logic to solve puzzles.

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For example, one mode will show you a Rubik’s Cube and will indicate what the next move will be – your job is to select the picture that matches the outcome of that move as quickly as possible. Another game will also require you to think quickly, as you answer a question (which can be about counting the number of colored squares, for instance) as fast as you can. If you’re more fond of puzzles that rely on wordplay or numbers, then Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness has you covered as well – and every single mode has a Rubik’s Cube flavor to it, which is a nice touch after having known that thing nearly all my life.

You can freely select minigames, or engage with a daily training program where Professor Rubik tracks your progress – something that Brain Training players on the DS will instantly recognize. This mechanic also ensures that puzzles will get more challenging as you solve them quickly and successfully, or that puzzles of a certain type will stay at the same level while the game waits for you to master them.

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What certainly wasn’t in those DS games is the ability to play the game competitively through local multiplayer. Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness supports this for up to four players at once, and while I don’t see it turning into the go-to partygame for entire families or groups of friends there are a few mini-games here that are well suited to a bit of friendly multiplayer competition – especially when you’re paired with someone of an equal ability level.

None of the mini-games in this collection are especially unique in terms of the challenges they provide, and we’ve seen similar things many times. What’s interesting and fun, however, is the use of the Rubik license and how it’s been applied to all these familiar challenges in some fun and creative ways. Ever thought about mixing Tetris and a Rubik’s Cube? From that perspective alone, if you enjoy “brain training” games and have nostalgia for the Rubik’s Cube this will probably bring a smile to your face despite a lack of true innovation in the puzzle genre.

Score: 6.7/10

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