Self improvement through video games. Its an admirable effort, no matter the medium used. One of the major things that video games can provide is an immediate response to mistakes and a comfortable environment in which to fix those mistakes. A great genre that is making use of this is the educational video game. Big Brain Academy for the DS is in this vein. The basic idea is that you are taking classes to increase the size of your brain and then you can also take tests to see how much bigger your brain has gotten. You can relax, we aren’t going to literally weigh your brain. Big Brain Academy is just using a nice simple measurement system (grams) that everyone can relate to and immediately see which one is bigger and thus better.
There are three different play modes to Big Brain Academy: Practice, Test and Versus. In Practice mode, you can play 3 different games for each of the 5 focal areas in brain development. These 5 areas are called compute, identify, think, memorize and analyze. These are the 5 things the entire game focuses on, so they’re going to come up again. There are three levels of difficulty for each game: easy, normal and hard. These games are the same games used in Test mode to find out your level of brain development. During Test mode, you go through one game from each focal area. The game randomly chooses how to test you and the difficulty scales with how well you’re performing to get an accurate assessment.
I really like the graphics in this game. They’re all really cute and simple. I also like the audio, its very relaxing. The controls are very easy to use, especially since they’re entirely based on tapping the screen to choose your answer. All in all, this is a really nice game. There is room on the cartridge for four different user files and each file displays the test results of the user on the grade scale from F to A, including the pluses and minuses. The downside there is that it doesn’t display the most recent score, instead it displays the best score ever received. Meaning that if you do really well and then take a break and start doing terrible, it still displays the best score from before. This is something of a problem, as I’m sure you can understand.
Overall, I enjoyed this game and found only a few small problems with it. As such, I award Big Brain Academy for the DS a 4 out of 5 hearts.
As a note, this is one of the many games that has been made for multiple systems. You might remember an older review of Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree. If you enjoyed that game, or if you think this one sounds like your kind of fun, you should be sure to check out both.