Back in late-2019, Japanese developers D-O Corporation released a decent collection of math puzzles in Dual Brain Vol. 1: Calculation. As light as the package was, it was still a fairly joyful selection of rapid-fire quizzes. Now we have Dual Brain Vol. 2: Reflex, featuring six new mini-games. While it doesn’t feel too far gone from the original, this one isn’t strictly about solving mathematical equations. That extra bit of variety makes this one a tad better, even if it doesn’t bring any other meaningful inclusions with it.
In the Dual Brain series, you’ve got a minute to beat every question or problem that the game throws at you. Meanwhile, you’ll need to be mindful of the ‘Dual Task’, i.e. a bomb with a lit fuse. Hit either of the bumper buttons in order to reset it, but try and do so when the fuse is in the red zone to earn an extra second on the clock. If you’re too slow, it’ll explode, and will only reappear after a few seconds. Again, it’s nothing different compared to before, but it’s still a neat twist that can be tricky to be mindful of while you’re whittling away through each question. Picking an incorrect answer will result in a penalty; you won’t be able to pick another answer for a few seconds.
The first game, Big or Small, is like Higher or Lower. Each time you’re shown a new number, the previous number not appear straight away, rather it’ll fade into view shortly afterwards. It’s handy in case you forget, but waiting around could cost you precious time. In any case, this one’s simple and accessible, as it only requires you to press the up or down buttons to answer. Same with Maximum Number, as all you gotta do is pick which of the four equations would make the highest answer. They’re okay to play, but are nothing too strenuous or unique.
Tap Counter is one of the more interesting ones. Three colours are assigned to specific buttons. Coloured circles with numbers in them will appear; you need to add those all up to figure out how many times you must press ‘em. In other words, it’s a combination of addition and button-mashing. Quick Eye functions fairly similarly, the difference being you need to pick the corresponding colour on each incoming tile. They’re enjoyable enough, though oddly, even on the highest difficulty, these ones don’t ask for many correct answers in order to complete the stage.
Reflex is another easy one. Again, you won’t need many correct answers to win, so you can probably beat it with plenty of time to spare. A grid of button inputs will appear on-screen; they will light up one at a time. The objective is to press each of the corresponding buttons. The whole thing has duplicates of the same controls, but it’s still not enough to throw you off completely. Maybe it could’ve lit up two or three at the same time to beef up the challenge.
Quick Eye is a bit trickier than the others, as you need to move the cursor around a grid of letters and numbers to pick the corresponding panel. Pressing the correct one will remove said tile and add a new one to pick from. Nothing much else to say, other than it’s a good’un, since you’ll be darting back and forth between the grid and example.
Just like before, there aren’t any other bonus game modes or the like. It really could’ve done with something like a one-life mode, or a marathon mode that forces you to play each game back-to-back in a random order. Levelling up is still a pointless addition since there are no rewards that act as an incentive to encourage you to keep playing. At least your scores will be uploaded to the online leaderboards; it might encourage perfectionists to keep replaying for those all-too valuable bragging rights.
Much like with the first game, Dual Brain Vol. 2: Reflex is made up of a frantic selection of bite-sized puzzles tossed at you in rapid succession, like a hybrid of Dr Kawashima and WarioWare Inc. Yet, it also suffers from the same problem: it lacks content. As it stands, it’s just as accessible and enjoyable Vol. 1, and is best played every now and again for about five or ten minutes at a time. If you have one entry, then getting the other isn’t exactly necessary, though this one has slightly more creative mini-games on offer.
Game code supplied by developers.