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Big Brain Academy Review

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Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: June 5, 2006 Also On: None

So quickly after their last brain-based hit, Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!, Nintendo and NST have followed up with the colorful Big Brain Academy. The questions at hand are numerous: what’s with all of these brain games? Is Big Brain as entertaining, addictive, and noticeably effective as Brain Age? Is it really worth another $20 to test the brain again?

Big Brain Academy’s focus drives away from simply the sensitivity and reactivity of the brain and also focuses on categories like memory, the ability to compute, analyze, and think quickly. There are numerous mini-games available to test your brain’s “size,” and the trick here is to come out with the biggest, fattest brain possible. The mini-games in Big Brain Academy are favorable when compared to those in Brain Age. They’re a little trickier. For example, one of them called “Coin-parison” asks you to compare two different amounts of coin and select which of the two is more valuable. Of course, you’re expected to select one of the two amounts in a matter of seconds, so the game asks a lot of your mind and forces you to think extremely quickly for optimal results.

Another example is the game “Flash Memory,” where you’re forced to very quickly memorize a sequence of numbers and symbols and then duplicate them with an on-screen calculator. I’d say that the learning curve is a little higher here than it was with Brain Age, but only slightly. I discovered that Big Brain Academy not only tests your brain, but also your eyesight. Games like “Flash Memory” and “Shadow Shift,” which forces you to identify a character based on its shadow, really test how well you can see what is going on on-screen and interpret it.

Big Brain Academy, for the most part, is accurate. After practicing with several of the mini-games, I took my first Big Brain Test and came out with excellent analyzation and memorization skills, but I lacked in computing and thinking quickly. This is pretty accurate to my real-life self, as well as my grade of a B-, which was my high school average.

Visually, Big Brain Academy is a prettier, more colorful, and more engaging game than Brain Age. There still isn’t much animation, and there is nothing exciting going on on-screen, but it all beats the Times font and gray backgrounds of Brain Age. The music and sound effects are quirky and sound a lot less like something that you’d expect from a brain game.

Big Brain Academy is a much better game than Brain Age. There are more mini-games, each testing a specific area of mental activity. The addictive quality remains. The presentation isn’t as serious and looks and sounds better. Really, the only thing that Big Brain Academy doesn’t have when stacked against Brain Age is the abundance of sudoku puzzles. Still, Big Brain Academy is worth your $20 and testing your brain has never been as much fun.

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 6.5
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.3
Written by Cliff Review Guide