Game Review: Big Brain Academy doesn't make the grade on Wii

  • Review - Bringing the industry-shifting genre of Nintendo's "brain games" to the revolutionary Wii console seems like a great idea, but Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree fails to bring anything spectacular to the Nintendo platform.

    Big Brain Academy for the Nintendo DS set itself apart from the more widely acclaimed Brain Age by offering a slate of more challenging puzzles and tests.  Unfortunately, the presentation was stale and clunky, and Wii Degree doesn't improve on this fault at all.

    Much like its DS predecessor, Wii Degree lets players either practice the mental challenges or compete in a rapid-fire test that spits out all the challenges randomly.

    The challenges are all brand new for the Wii installment, but they are organized into the same categories: analyze, memorize, visualize, compute, and identify.  There are only three puzzles for each category, the same as with the DS version.  This means that each test is exactly the same.  While that's good in terms of keeping the results constant, it also backfires because the game gets repetitive very quickly.  The fact that the puzzles are so dull makes it even worse. 

    Adding to the list of problems with this game is that the categories are kind of misnomers on some of the challenges.  One of the memory challenges, for example, doesn't test your memory but rather sees how well you can keep track of moving objects.  Two of the three compute challenges, likewise, don't deal with any sort of calculation. 

    The game offers a couple different ways to spice things up, such as a marathon mode to see how many puzzles you can do in a time limit without messing up, or competing in a real-time battle against a friend.  However, like the rest of the game, this gets tiresome rather quickly.

    Wiis that are connected to the Internet can also share scores, but only between players who have registered each other's console beforehand.  It's really a moot point for a game that has little substance to begin with.

    For most people, a perfect score will be unattainable, and for others it can be done with hours of practice.  The reward for doing so is minimal, though, and the limited scope of the challenges just makes me feel like my brain isn't actually getting a workout.

    The end result - what is the point of the game?  For $50, there are so many other titles on the Wii or other platforms that are much more worthwhile, and for video game-based brain busting, I suggest just sticking with the offerings on the DS.