Flash Focus: Vision Training in Minutes a Day DS Review
As part of the "non-game" craze that has swept Japan, Flash Focus: Vision Training in Minutes a Day attempts to fill in some perceived hole in this market with a random assortment of short mini-games which, according to Namco Bandai and Nintendo anyway, will help your eyes... see better. There's really only two reasons anyone would buy a product like this, and both of them are obvious. One, is you expect to find some fun inside - it's on your game system, after all. And the other is that you actually have vision problems, and you think this will help you. The quality of Flash Focus pretty much relies on whether or not either of these ends are met with relative success.
Flash Focus is even more, er, focused than its other non-game bretheren - there's no ancillary "meat" to the product, like Brain Age 2 has with its Sudoku and Dr. Mario parts. You start up a eye check, the game then proceeds to decide what 'eye exercise workout' is best for you, and once you're finished with what it gives you the game literally exits to the menu and you can either wait for the next days play or screw around with the mini-games in quick play. The mini-games themselves range from tediously easy to deceptively addicting, but limited. There is a 'box tapping' mini-game, which is exactly as it sounds... Flash Focus throws little red boxes around a black screen, and they come out at a progressively faster speed. There's a game where a number quickly flashes on the screen, and you have to write down what you saw from your memory of that flash.
The mini-games range from there to a bunch of sports-related training tests, like Table Tennis, Boxing, Baseball and Basketball. But since all of them are essentially just isolating singular aspects of the sport and stripping away everything else, you shouldn't actually expect to be playing anything even on par with NES Baseball. It's strictly to train your vision, so you'll just be trying to tap a 'hit box' when the pitcher tosses the ball with Baseball or returning a serve for 40 turns in Table Tennis. All of this would be fine if it was fun, but like Brain Age it inherently limits its possibilities with only recording your scores once per day and with making the maximum goals of each mini-game really easy to achieve. By the second day, I already had scored a eye age of 24 and unlocked 'hard mode' on all the training modes they had thrown at me up until that point. And on the third day, I was already maxing out the scores for the hard modes on each respective game.
To be fair, the approach of the game is to help you with your vision. Even though my vision is terrible and I wear thick-rimmed glasses, what Flash Focus is really doing is trying to sharpen your eye skills like Momentary and Peripheral Vision, as well as your Dynamic Visual Acuity. Maybe I wasn't the right market for this, since the years of playing videogames have obviously made me an expect in 'hand-eye coordination.' The box says these sports tests are used to help the vision of professional athletes and perhaps that's true, but the I have to imagine the tests they're doing are significantly more complex and functional than the ones present here. These are simply not taken far enough and don't take into account any number of factors which impact vision, and in the end it feels more like a collection of really bare bones mini-games than something that can actually work in its mission statement.
Flash Focus: Vision Training In Minutes a Day is cheap, checking in at $19.99, but even that doesn't seem to justify what you are actually getting here. Brain Age 2 actually knows it is limited in appeal to hardcore gamers, and attempts to bridge this gap in various ways. And while there's no way to verify that these eye tests are working on the long run, in the end I just wasn't having any fun and that's the ultimate test of this product's worth in my eyes. There are vastly better ways to spend your cash.
What's Hot: I like the designs of your eye coaches
What's Not: It just isn't fun.