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Grow your grey matter with Big Brain Academy - A fun brain training game on the DS - Review part 2

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In practice mode, you can choose any of the five categories and any of the three difficulty levels. There are three different games for each of the categories. Perform really well and the doc will award you a medal. All the challenges use the touch screen, there's no dodgy voice recognition here. My favourite challengers were "Sound Bites", which has you memorizing various sounds and then tapping the correct icons, and Pathfinder, which has you guiding animals across a grid by drawing extra lines to change their path. The light hearted presentation persists throughout all the challenges, making this game much more appealing to younger players than Brain Training was, though there's plenty to keep older players interested too.

Big Brain Academy screenshot
Dr Lobe claims to have been inspired to open his academy by staring into the sun on a hot summers day. No wonder he never sees me cheating in class.

Finally, if you can find a DS owning friend or three (and who doesn't know someone
else with a DS these days?!) then using one game card you can link up with up to seven friends in the academy's multi-player class. Big Brain Academy really shines in multi-player mode and it's not hard to imagine this game becoming a family favourite, even amongst youngsters who might have been reluctant to play Brain Training. Any of the challenges on offer in the single player mode can be attempted in multi-player mode. This time, players 'race' to a certain brain weight (which can be set before the game starts). If you finish a question first, you get 10 grams. Finish within the time limit but behind your rivals and you'll receive a couple of grams. Get the question wrong and you’ll lose some weight. This continues until one player reaches the target weight, then it is on to the next challenge.

The player who finished last in the previous challenge then chooses the next event, giving them chance to choose a challenge they excel at to claw back some head-weight. This continues until one player gets over 300g of grey matter, at which point they are declared the winner. There are a good variety of challenges available and everyone is likely to have a favourite. Older, wiser parents won't always be able to beat younger, quicker children (and vice versa of course!). This is proper, solid, family fun the way it should be done.

So, Dr. Lobe, what is the diagnosis? Big Brain Academy is a fun little package that is less sterile than Brain Training and likely to appeal to a broader age range. There isn't as much content on offer here as in Brain Training/Brain Age or More Brain Training, but the multi-player is superb. If you have several DS owners in the family and want a game to get out to play at Christmas or on a rainy weekend, Big Brain Academy is ideal. So ideal in fact, that you should perhaps add a point to our final score, which isn't light-weight as it stands!


Adjusted Scores

  Guys Girls
Kids 6/10 6/10
Teens 7/10 7/10
Adults 7/10 7/10

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