Grow your grey matter with Big Brain Academy - A fun brain training game on the DS
With the phenomenal success of Brain Training on the DS, it wasn't long before several other brain boosting games were available for the console. Big Brain Academy was one of the first games to launch hot on the heels of the original Brain Training title. The game is still widely available and is often sold along with DS consoles, but does Big Brain Academy distinguish itself enough from the other brain trainers to warrant a purchase?
Starting up the game card for the first time, the most immediate difference between Brain Academy and Brain Training is the presentation. Big Brain Academy has a more playful, hand drawn nature to its presentation. It features a gooey blob character called Dr. Lobe, who claims he is "so healthy he wears T-shirts and shorts in the dead of winter!". Between games he bobs up and down waving his pointing stick and spouting nonsense. There are no lectures about lazy brains or premature aging of the mind. It quickly becomes clear that this game takes itself a little less seriously than Dr. Kawashima's.
From the main menu, you can register your game profile, or beam a demo to your friends via the DS wifi link. Registration just requires you to enter your name, then after listening to the enigmatic Dr. Lobe, you can jump straight to the class menu. There are only three options here, "practice", "test" and "versus".
Deciding that practice was for cowards, I dived right into "test" mode. Here you must work your way through five different categories, 'Think', 'Memorize', 'Analyze', 'Compute' and 'Identify'. The tasks are randomly chosen from three different games in each category. Here are the games I got on my test:-
Analyze - In this category I had to find groups of animals on a grid as quickly as possible. The grid got bigger and the number of animals to find kept increasing.
Compute - Again testing my terrible mental arithmetic skills I had to solve mathematical equations written down as words, for example "one plus one is two".
Think - For this challenge, animals and objects were placed on weighing scales. The object of the test was to work out which was the heaviest by comparing the weight of one set against another. This gets harder as you progress with more and more items and scales.
This challenge required me to memorize symbols and then tap them in the correct order. Again as the challenge goes on, more and more blank symbols are shown making it increasingly difficult.
- Finally, the game taxed me with
identifying various shapes that, when placed together would form the shape shown at the top of the screen. The shapes get bigger and more complicated as the challenge goes on. It reminded me a little of those toys that they give to babies to help build cognitive skills, though much harder of course!
After this challenge, I was awarded a brain-weight of 771g, which according to the squidgy doctor is below average. He then explained I had the brain of a fashion stylist, giving me a C- grade! Oh well, I guess video game reviewer isn't in his list of jobs, at least I'll be good at Imagine Fashion Designer.
After the test, it's back to the main menu, where you can take the test again, or delve into practice mode.