Sight Training: Enjoy Exercising And Relaxing Your Eyes follows in the footsteps of the highly popular yet highly dubious Brain Training, and attempts to persuade us to take a series of short sight training tests on a daily basis. These tests are designed to improve the following five aspects of your "Focus Ability", we're told;

    * Dynamic Visual Acuity (the ability to clearly see moving objects)
    * Momentary Vision (the ability to take in a large amount of information at once)
    * Eye Movement (the ability to quickly move your eyes)
    * Peripheral Vision (the ability to see a wide area)
    * Hand-Eye Co-ordination (the ability to quickly and accurately react)

These lofty goals are introduced to us by the advisor to Sight Training, Dr. Hisao Ishigaki. Despite Dr Ishigaki's impressive intellectual achievements, he appears to have overlooked that when marketing a visual improvement product, consumer confidence may be increased if you remove your glasses when posing for a promotional mugshot. To be fair, we are granted the following disclaimer;

Individual results of this training may vary. In some cases, vision may not improve at all. This game helps you to train your visual abilities but will not improve the actual strength of your eyesight.

Fortunately, our hopes weren't high. To begin, the game asks you to complete an "eye age test", which consists of observing the letter "C" facing various directions, and report back to the software each direction.

The lowest age you can be given is 20, which you will get even if you guess one out of the thirty "C"'s incorrectly, as I did. Which would mean it's acceptable to lose one thirtieth of your visual ability, provided you do it when aged twenty.

Once you leave the "eye age" test, the remaining "core" tests consist of a fairly repetitive collection of memory-based games. For example, a series of random numbers of varied length will flash on the screen, and you have to recall what they were. You also get to do a similar exercise with letters. And with boxes, and circles, and a whole host of moving objects that wouldn't be out of place on the Atari 2600. It's not that these tests don't provide a modicum of challenge, it's just that they're not really very much fun. Certainly not after the third time. Another annoyance is that you can't seem to turn the instructions off anywhere, so you sit through them over and over again.

If you're prepared to follow the training to the letter, you'll be allowed to unlock various sub-games on a daily basis. These include basketball (which has the distinction of being the only basketball video game that has neither a basket, or a ball) table tennis, baseball, boxing etc. These sports based games are visually a lot more appealing than the core training previously mentioned, and will realistically be played a lot more. The best sub-game is probably the boxing, which requires you to tap the pointer at your trainers boxing pads as they move around the screen, with more points allocated for accuracy. With most of these games, it's not always clear whether your reaction time or your eyesight is actually being tested.

Up to four players can keep track of their daily results, presented in graph form as well as the aforementioned "eye age". It does seem however that any improvement in score is more likely to be caused by the experience of repetition rather than anything else. I'm not sure you'll be seeing any public service announcements encouraging you to master Sight Training as a way to better spot a bus that's about to run you down, for example.

This offering from Nintendo really does fall short of what you would expect, especially given the success of other self-test software released recently. It seems harmless enough, but just lacking in refinement, and depth of content.