I love this new movement for games that involve bettering yourself either physically or mentally. I also love games that I can play with my little brother (he’s 7). Needless to say, as a college student, my game tastes don’t always overlap with his. That’s where Big Brain Academy comes in. The games have very simple mechanics, its all point and click. The only skills that are required for the easy modes are basic addition and reading. The idea is that you can test yourself in the 5 different aspects of intelligence: memory, analysis, visualization, computation and identification. Each aspect has 3 different mini games available in single player mode and there are more mini games in multiplayer mode. The games themselves aren’t hard to play, they really are testing the aspect of intelligence that they’re associated with, not your gaming skill.
There are two major parts to this game: the solo mode and the group mode. In solo mode, there are two different modes called Test and Practice. The Practice mode contains all the games in all the aspects of intelligence in different difficulties from easy to expert. Practice mode is where you go to train your brain to get higher scores in Test mode. In Test mode, you do 10 random activities on random difficulties and the game scores you based on your speed and accuracy. Then you can compare the scores of all the players on a graph available in the game. There are also scores for all the games in Practice mode and rankings so you can see how you compare to the other players at individual games.
Group mode is by far my favorite part of this game. There are three group play modes available. The first is a straight 2-player game called mind sprint. The object is to be the first to complete 10 activities correctly. If you make a mistake, you have to repeat the same type of activity. This particular game can be challenging, especially if there is a specific activity that you’re not very good at. Then there is the mental marathon. The object of this game is to keep going for as long as possible with making a mistake. This can be played with up to 8 players all using the same Wiimote. Each player does 3 activities before passing the Wiimote on to the next player. And lastly is the brain quiz. The brain quiz can be played by up to 8 players on up to 3 teams. The teams are randomly generated, which is the only downside to this game. The brain quiz offers games that aren’t available elsewhere for practice or in the test, but are based on those same 5 aspects of intelligence. The brain quiz is also played with only 1 Wiimote, making it a favorite in my house since we only have 2 Wiimotes but 4 players.
And so, it comes time to decide upon a score for Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree. I really enjoyed this game, and for once so did my brother and parents. The fact that you can have up to 8 players using 1 Wiimote is something that few games offer. The game itself is challenging but can be played by anyone as long as they can read and they can even play competitively fairly. My complaints about Big Brain Academy are that you can’t choose the teams yourself for team based competitions, that there are games only available in one of the multiplayer modes that I would really like to be able to play in practice mode and that younger children do have some problems playing due to lack of fine motor skills. So I will award Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree with 4 out of 5 hearts. There’s room for improvement, but over all it was good.