a short review for once! although i’ve been playing a fair amount of fluff lately, i just couldn’t bring myself to play anything any more taxing this week than big brain academy for DS. for the most part i agree with the reviewer at nintendolife.com, although i disagree with his overall score and would have rated it a bit higher. also, it seems worth noting that your scores within the game can fluctuate based on the difficulty of the questions you’re given even when playing on the same setting (e.g. “easy”), i.e., even if you get 15 questions correct with no misses two times in a row, your score may very well be different.
anyway, although i thought the game was a follow up to brain age (which i thoroughly enjoyed), the two games were actually released almost simultaneously both in japan and the US. either nintendo was banking on the success of “brain training” in general, or they were hoping to offer an alternative, more game-like approach to brain age‘s somewhat bare (although wholly satisfying) presentation. in either case big brain academy does complement brain age very well. it’s a much more traditional video game experience, with “medals” earned for achieving high scores in each of the 15 mini-games, although its more-cartoony visuals are a bit misleading since the difficulty can, at their highest levels, actually be a bit higher than brain age‘s; for example, i don’t think many 3rd-graders could calculate 14 times 13 quickly in their head, whereas in brain age i don’t think they ever go much past the 10 times table. the games themselves are all worthwhile, although by necessity some of them are a bit dry, such as the basic calculation or memory games. the presentation is a bit “whimsical”, but it does make the game feel inviting and somewhat less clinical than brain age. dr. lobe isn’t nearly as engaging a character as the floating head in brain age, though. also, in typical nintendo fashion, getting the gold medals isn’t too much of a challenge, but getting all the platinum medals definitely requires more practice, skill, and some luck as well. overall i’d have to say i actually enjoyed big brain academy more than brain age 2, but less than the first brain age. will definitely be checking out the wii follow-up some time.
brain … so … heavy … with big brain academy links:
– official site. includes descriptions of all the games and some demo games, some random videos with “people on the street”, and because you were dying to have them i’m sure (haha) some wallpapers
– this FAQ at gamefaqs includes all dr. lobe’s greetings (which change every hour) and medal requirements (although i’m not sure how accurate those are)