on June 17, 2007
I have a morbid fascination (personal and professional) with ersatz tests of mental agility. I was not disappointed with Big Brain Academy. It's engaging and competitive. My wife has enjoyed the DS version, so we purchased the Wii version as soon as it was available. Overall, we like it and can recommend it. There is nothing fancy about this game. If you have an axe to grind about the visual quality of the Wii platform vice the PS3, stay away; this could have been graphically presented on a Commodore 64. But, as I have written in other reviews, one of the oft missed keys to game development isn't graphics quality, but entertainment. This game largely hits the mark. I think the mini-game is the biggest strength of the Wii platform and this will make a nice edition to our collection of games. Plus, the tasks are simple enough for our children to use, but the game is designed to be challenging to everyone. What are the downsides? Limited numbers of mini-games. There is enough here to keep your interest, and the game will addict SOME (but not all) users. However, for a $49 game, I expect a little more. Also, I find the written text dialogue that gives you feedback about your performance more than a little annoying. In summary, the limited number of mini-games, graphics quality, and player feedback may be factors other users may find "game-breakers", but I like the game and can recommend it to others.
Last year, the Nintendo DS really changed the way we enjoy video games. With the success of Brain Age & Big Brain Academy, many gamers found a new kind of game to enjoy, the mental game. Since that time, there have been many knock-offs that actually didn't feel like they were as good as the originals did. Games like Mind Quiz for the PSP, really weren't able to bring out the best in the gamer. Now, Nintendo is at it again by reviving the Big Brain Academy onto the Wii generation, and hoping to bring it to a wider audience. The question is, does it deliver a smarter mind, or a dumb waste from the wallet?
Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree for the Nintendo Wii, expands the successful Nintendo DS game, and brings new action to the system. The gameplay here expands well in more than one way. Now, you can challenge gamers in multiplayer action, or online through the WI-FI connection of the Wii. The control in this is very simple, as you go through many new games and challenges, that just requires a simple point and answer display through the Wii controller. There are also new challenges as you try to mass your brain weight towards your goal of 2000 grams. The new games also bring a lot of challenge like balloon burst, as you try to point and pop your balloons from the lowest to the highest numbers available, but it isn't as easy as it looks once you get better, as negative numbers try to outweigh your mind. Another new game included is speed sorting, where you have to deduct which one of four objects is anywhere from being the largest, or which mammal has the most legs. The multiplayer challenges also kick in well, with games like Mental Marathon, a relay race where you pass off the Wii controller as you try to give correct answers, but one wrong answer and the game is over. The graphics aren't much to please over unlike other Wii games, but the gameplay absolutely does deliver all over for those who've played the original, and those who just got thrills up their spine to get the Wii.
All in all, Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree does a great job at bringing gamers young and old together in a game that works well, and expanding the online gaming action that the Wii has just started seeing. It is definitely a must buy for anyone who loves a mental challenge that is different from action games that are more about looks than fun. This brain definitely is worth it.
Graphics: B 1/2-
Fun & Enjoyment: B+ for solo players; A- for multiplayer action
Overall: B 1/2+
With all the research coming out about an active brain staying sharp, it's no surprise that the Wii now sports a brain training game of its very own. Unfortunately, it's just not as great as it should be.
Let me first explain that we own all the DS brain-training games and play them fairly frequently. We definitely believe in the use-it-or-lose-it theory of brain health. The makers of Big Brain Academy on the Wii already had volumes of feedback from the DS game to know what works and doesn't work. They had plenty of time to create a truly spectacular game for the Wii platform.
I acknowledge that they did some things well here. They have fun multiplayer modes. You can cooperatively work as a team to try to get the maximum score. You can compete against each other in a time trial, attempting to get through your tasks as quickly as possible. You can also play in a board game style of situation, where you choose tasks that you know you're good at, trying to get the most total points.
For solo play, they have the standard training and test modes. They break your tasks up into five areas - analyze, compute, identify, memorize and visualize. Each area only has three game types. Unlike the other, DS games, where at least some of the games were enjoyable, I really didn't find any of these to be "fun". Some were downright annoying. For example, in one game they zoom super-close in on a photograph. They slowly un-zoom and you have to guess what it is. Is it a sheep? A grasshopper? This really isn't a test of anything - it's all a matter of when the picture shows something identifiable. Other games like "count the number of red balls and blue balls that go into a bucket, and say which was larger" at least have some sense behind them. There are the face-matching games, the pattern-seeking games, the tetris-like games, and so on. We've seen these all before in other mini-game sets. Usually, though, they are innately fun to play and there are a wide variety of them. Both are lacking here.
You can earn medals while doing the practice games, up through platinum level. If there are multiple accounts in the game, you can also get a ranking - first, second, and so on. However, nowhere in the game does it show any summary of those rankings! In fact, you only see that you earned a ranking at the end of a given game. It doesn't even show it on the game's listing. So if you go through and get 1st place in all the games, and then your friend goes in and gets first place, you'd never know it. To even see the medal listing you have to go into a "book" for your profile, to see what you've earned. There's no way to easily compare one person against another - or to engage in friendly competition to try to one-up each other.
They do have a single listing page where they show the "current test score" for each person. This is the one-number total of a person's test score. This is a nice thing to compare, but for example, say you have two parents in a household with three kids. The kids can't really compete on the whole test against a parent! They don't have the training yet. They COULD try to compete in the "easy level" of a given test. But there's no way to compare that. This was a giant opportunity that the game designers missed out on.
There was also still a bit too much inane chatter that you have to page through to get to the results. There really should be an option to turn that off. It's cute the first time. After the 20th time of the exact same dialogue, it gets very annoying.
I really expected much more from the Wii version of this game. A nice attempt, but they should have learned far more from the DS feedback and been able to resolve many of these issues before shipping.
on October 3, 2007
If you've ever played any of the brain training games for the Nintendo DS, chances are you know how much fun exercising your mind can be. This game, which is a sequel to Big Brain Academy on the DS, lacks the lasting appeal of its predecessor, however. While most of the games are fun at first, after going through a couple tests they quickly become dull and repetitive, and the lack of variety (there are only 15 games total) makes the boredom come even faster.
The real shortfall here, in my opinion, is that the game had so much potential on the Wii. It could have been so much better. The single player mode isn't bad--it's similar to the brain weight test on the DS--but the multiplayer mode is really lacking. The game features a basic head to head mode of play, but it would have been nice to see some variety for multiple players rather than just the "see who can answer X questions first" mode of play. I would think, too, that a puzzle type game like this one would include more extensive stats for each player. Each person's profile consists of a book that does show some statistics (and allows you to use your Mii, which is a nice touch), but I would have liked to see leaderboards for each event posted in the lobby of the game as well as statistics and maybe some sort of badges for multiplayer competition. In fact would it be too much to ask for SOMETHING to reward players for playing and achieving higher scores--some kind of unlockable or something similar?
Big Brain could really benefit from more online support as well. You can compare training data over WiiConnect, but the options are pretty limited and, in my opinion, not really worth it. I would like to see an online community with more variey than just the "beat my score" type. The lack of one just adds to the disappointment of what might have been.
This isn't a bad game overall, and it is enjoyable for a little while. I suppose it could be heaped onto the pile of "Wii party games" and provide some entertainment for a group of people, but the fact remains that Big Brain Academy: Wii degree is a game that should have been so much more.
on July 29, 2007
Kids from age 5 to adults age 70+ have played this game at my home and loved it. Adults will get a real mental workout once they get to expert level. Mr. Lobe gets irritating but you can buzz through him fairly quick. I would give this to all the kids in my family if their parents could only find a Wii system.
on July 12, 2007
The Brain Academy series has been extremely popular, especially among non-gamers. I remember taking the DS version home for Xmas once, and all four members of the family were fighting for the DS the entire time in order to improve their scores.
The Wii version is a lot of fun, and the new controls carried over perfectly. Both my current roommates (non-gamers) are completely hooked (one of them joked about how he daydreamed all day at work to come home and play!)
My only complaint is that you keep hoping for a couple more games for variety, or a more developed multiplayer mode (the current modes are fun, just leaves you wishing for just a bit more...)
A great purchase.
Big Brain Academy on the Nintendo DS was, surprisingly, a blast. It was simple and fun. Well, Nintendo took that simple fun game and put it on the Wii. This isn't, however a direct port of the Nintendo DS game. This game has basically been rebuilt for the Wii and it works. While many Wii gamers are probably getting tired of the myriad of mini-game compilations by now, Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree is at least a good one. It suffers, however, exactly what the DS version suffered from... that there just isn't enough of it to go around. You'll easily explore all this game has to offer in just a couple of hours, and that's really sad to admit. Hopefully in the future, the Big Brain series will grow to include more.
Much like the DS version, there are five categories that each contain some mini-games. The five categories are Visualize, Memorize, Analyze, Compute and Identify. All the mini-games are fairly simple to understand and easy to pick up on. These games are not pulled straight from the DS version, though, and a lot of them are point and click affairs. That may not sound really exciting, but when applying logic and speed it's certainly more appealing than it sounds. For the gamers who love logic and thinking, this is certainly no problem at all. For gamers who want something a bit more involving, you probably won't really find it here.
Even better is the multi-player. While the game only allows for two people to play simoultaneously, up to 8 people can participate ala switching off. Sometimes you'll also find yourself on teams. Multi-player is certainly better than playing by yourself, and sometimes it's just plain fun to see who can think and react faster. It makes for some healthy competition. Even better, this is a game where anyone can pick up and play. There's nothing here about the mini-games or the interface that's hard to learn. If, however, you do need some practice, there is a practice mode for you.
Even better, the game does make use of WiiConnect24. It's not online play, but at least it shows that Nintendo is going somewhere. If you have any friend codes in your address book, the game reads them automatically and you can view their stats and such. There's no online competition, though, and that's really sad given that Big Brain Academy is perfect for doing so.
Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree suffers from the same problem as the DS Version, though. There's just not enough of it, and that makes the price tag hard to swallow. You'll have some great fun, but you'll explore the whole thing in a matter of hours. Likewise, just like other mini-game compilations on the Wii, it's hardly any fun by yourself. So if you're going solo, the magic just won't last long enough. Even if you have a blast with multi-player you'll yearn for there to be something more. There are only three multi-player modes in all. This, of course, wouldn't be quite as bad if there were more than just 15 games here.
Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree is a fairly good game, there just isn't enough of it to go around, and there aren't enough gameplay modes here, either. It's fun and addictive, just like it's DS counterpart, but also like the DS version, it could use more mini-games and variety.
on July 14, 2011
I was wounded in action in December during my units Deployment in Afhanistan. Head injuries (TBI) have left me with short term memory loss and balance issues. Big Brain Acadamy was recommended by the doctors that have been overseeing my rehab. At first look the game seems trivial and many adults might think that it is a kids game. I have found the game very challenging though and I do enjoy it.
Five different categories with varying difficulty levels help you improve memory retention, focus, problem solving and other areas. After the test batteries are completed the game gives you a chart to track your progress and growth. The test are fun and intuitive.
On the down side some of the tests can be difficult and the game does get repetitive but then again that is key for people like me who suffer from memory loss.
Get this game. It will improve your memory skills.
on June 19, 2007
Terrific fun. Especially multiplayer, incredible experience. This is one of those rare games my wife can actually beat me at so it's great laughs for both of us. We love the "Mind Sprint" mode, where the two of you race to finish a number of activities. The other 2 multiplayer modes offer something totally different. The "Marathon" mode basically is a test for your consistent accuracy. The "Quiz" mode is about getting the highest number of total points; we had a lot of fun with this when we had 6 people playing this mode, and divided up into 2 teams.
For comparison, this is better than Warioware. No wacky wiimote waggles, but if you liked Warioware, you'd like this for sure. If you didn't like Warioware, you might actually like this because the activities in here actually make sense (as opposed to those in Warioware).
People say this game lacks depth, but I suggest otherwise. It's about the practice and improvement as a result from the practice. Otherwise, you're not pushing yourself and it defeats the purpose of a mental workout. What more can you ask for than having fun during a mental workout? Aim for a Platinum medal for ALL of the activities--at least up to the HARD levels. The EXPERT level can get extremely difficult for some of the activities--like the bird cage one, for instance. I just can't do it, not even getting a gold medal.
Last thing I want to comment on is the control. The control is excellent. I find it hard to believe, but I feel like I get better control out of the wiimote pointing at the TV than the mouse on the monitor. I have a steadier hand than most people, so maybe that's a factor, but moving across the screen requires a lot less motion than the mouse and also results in higher accuracy.
We rented this game before buying and am glad we did. The basic premises is an academy were the student's intelligence is measured by brain weight. The brain weight is determined by how well students perform in different areas--visualization, memory, identification, computation (math), and analyzation. The different areas the students can play to increase their brain weight includes, tests, practices, and playing against one another.
The games are fun to play, but because of the lack of variety, our 8 year old got tired of the game quickly. Our young 5 year old, who also enjoyed the game, had to have someone who could read and had basic number skills to help her. As adults, my husband and I enjoyed it, but we too got tired of the games quickly. So, after having rented the game for 5 days, we came to the conclusion, it's a nice game to have because it does help kids learn, but we shouldn't expect it to get long hours of play at any given time. It's more of a game we'll need to set with our younger kids to help them play and not expect ourselves or our oldest child to really get a lot more playing time from it.