Customer Review

173 of 199 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So much potential - such poor implementation, June 13, 2007
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree (Video Game)
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.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 22, 2007 8:34:07 AM PDT
You can in fact go through and review the rankings. At the end of the given game, when it says that you ranked, there are arrows on the side of the screen that let you go through and view the other rankings...

Posted on Aug 22, 2007 5:44:33 PM PDT
David Brown says:
For head-to-head play between people of widely differing abilities, try the "Auto" difficulty level which adjusts to the individual players' levels. It works well, especially on the "Mind Sprint" (?) game that offers simultaneous two-player. My daughter (grade 4) can often beat me (part-time graduate student) with this setting.

You're absolutely right about the "inane chatter." This almost offers a bonus test: how fast can you press "A" to skip it! (Answer: never fast enough.)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2008 12:24:46 PM PST
Dave says:
The "grasshopper/sheep" section of the game certainly tests the recognition centers of your brain. You say that it's just a matter of when the shape becomes recognizable? Exactly. To some that may be instantly while with others it takes longer. Practicing makes your mind more apt to focus and recognize, thus the point of the game. Hello??

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2008 2:51:22 PM PST
Lisa Shea says:
Right, but you have to be in a specific game. I guess what I was saying is that most other games have a rankings area where you can easily scan how everybody is doing and see what you want to go "challenge" somebody in :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2008 2:53:25 PM PST
Lisa Shea says:
Well, but that isn't really testing your brain, then. Here's an analogy. Say there's a number-matching sequence and you have to play the game and watch where the numbers show up, then remember them and click on them. You can build your brain power by playing that frequently and building your recall skills. But if a game just involves memorizing 10 pictures that the game has, and knowing which of those 10 pictures are being drawn, that's not much of a challenge. It would be like playing that number-matching game and having the sequence being *exactly the same* every time you played it. That's not really much of a challenge ...

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2008 9:09:00 AM PST
Dave says:
I would agree if there were only the ten pictures, but after playing for awhile I noticed they have many many more. Once you get to the expert level on the animal pictures, you start seeing some different animals. I am by no means bragging about being on the expert level, I pretty much had to quit my job and devote my life to getting the gold medals on hard.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2008 11:36:59 AM PST
Lisa Shea says:
OK I didn't literally mean 10 :) I wasn't going through and counting the images. I meant "a limited number" - that the game cycles through a set list. Intelligence tests are a personal hobby of mine and with the thousands of various options out there, I still feel that identifying a set image that is out of focus does not test your intelligence nearly as well as many other tests do. It is down at the very bottom of the list. Heck, on physical issues alone, it weighs against intelligent people with even minor eyesight flaws ...

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 24, 2008 10:20:21 AM PST
Dave says:
Can you recommend any other tests out there? Big Brain is my first experience with these types of games and I was hooked right away. Maybe they threw in the animal pictures so the people who can't get anything else right can sit there and say ooooh a cat!! Kidding of course...

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 5:56:10 PM PST
IS there any way to turn off the chatter? Paging through is really annoying.
Also, I can't figure out how to exit the game and save the settings.
Sorry this is not really a comment.
Overall, my husband, kids and grandkids are all enjoying this game a lot. I think ALL of the activities are fun and challenging, and there are many things even smaller kids can do. I would highly recommend it except for the two problems listed above.

Posted on Oct 27, 2010 1:25:21 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 27, 2010 1:29:24 PM PDT]
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