Guest Author - Lisa Shea
Big Brain Academy for the Nintendo DS is a lot like Brain Age. It's a collection of puzzles designed to test and stimulate your intellect.
While we enjoy Brain Age, it has numerous issues. You only get 'scored' on each game once a day. The number of games is REALLY limited and many of them can get maxed out within weeks of playing. How much fun is it to get straight 5s on Head Count hard, with no chance of ever improving? I was really happy, then, when Big Brain Academy came along. While it still doesn't have nearly as many games in it as it should have, at least it has a wider selection.
In Big Brain Academy, you're not fighting for a low brain age (which I always found to be an EXTREMELY questionable goal). Insead, you're working towards a "big" brain which is much better. There are puzzles split up into five areas - thinking, memorizing, analyzing, computing and identifying. Each area has 3 games, with multiple difficulty levels. So that's 15 games total. You're already far ahead of Brain Age with that quantity, plus the difficulty levels too.
You can practice as much as you want, aiming for a gold medal in each game at each difficulty level. As you go, you fill up a 'brain graph' - a pentagon that shows which areas you're best at. When you're ready, you do the actual test.
The test randomly chooses a game from each of the 5 areas and sets you at them. It's on a timer, so you do as well as you can within that time limit. At the end, your total brain weight is calculated. This isn't of course "real" - it is more a general scale to show how well you're doing. It also gives you a "type" of brain you have based on what you did well in. Someone who does really well in computing is called a "calculator" - while someone who's great at memorizing and thinking is a "museum curator".
The puzzles are simple but fun. They're the type of puzzles that young kids would enjoy but that adults would find entertaining as well. Traditional things such as memory games, box counting, shape recognition and more are the norm here.
Just like Brain Age, this game shares the problem of INCESSANT CHATTER from the "helper". You have to go paging through numerous completely meaningless messages to get through some areas. They really need to get a handle on that for future releases.
I'm still baffled why they can't have 6 games per area, instead of 3. At least this is a huge step up from Brain Age in that area, but still, there should really be far more games included in the set. It would really help to make this an excellent game, instead of a fun game that has a limited lifetime of enjoyability.
Big Brain Academy Walkthrough
Buy Big Brain Academy from Amazon.com