Do you feel your brain has been a bit more stiff than normal? This is the question that Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain poses right at the start. And whether you’re still working on multiplication or spend your days in spreadsheets, it has a minigame to stretch those unused lobes.
Quick and Correct
Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain has a variety of modes, where you compete against your past self, others online, or others locally. But the basis is always the same – you’ll need to complete minigames. To win is to beat them quickly and correctly. The better you do though, the higher the difficulty gets. Fail a question at a higher difficulty and it drops you back down. This works really well for scaling to all levels!
Doing well won’t just get you a high score. Whether ranking high or just practicing, you can win medals. These can be traded in for random cosmetics.
Not Just Math
There are twenty minigames included in Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain. They’re separated into five categories; Identify, Memorize, Analyze, Compute and Visualize. This is a fairly small number of minigames compared to titles such as WarioWare: Get It Together or Mario Party Superstars. It is a lower-priced title though, to be fair.
Most of the games are nothing too new but have their own spin on them. Covered Cages is a good example of this. Ever play the shell game where you need to keep track of something under a cup while it gets shuffled around? This is that only it’s birds in cages. It then keeps increasing the number of both. While it started as tracking one bird in one of three cages, I got up to trying to keep track of three birds between nine cages. It likely increases even more for people with better memorization skills than myself.
Balloon Burst is one of the compute minigames. This one starts fairly simply too. All you need to do is to pop balloons in order from lowest to highest. When the numbers are 1, 2, and 5, this is easy. Do well enough though and it starts throwing in minus numbers and fractions. I don’t often find myself having to do more than simple addition, so it worked well to get me using my brain.
The visualize games had me thinking of things from different perspectives or how they should look. Analyze tested my logic skills by using comparison and making assumptions for what is there but unseen. Identify was about recognition and speed. While there aren’t a huge amount of minigames, they do test the player in a good variety of ways.
You can play Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain in a few different ways. Practice mode just has you play the minigame of your choice. You can aim for higher scores and unlock higher ranks here. There’s also a test mode, which throws you into one of each category of minigame and gives you an overall score and brain grade. All of these minigames are quick, so they seem like a good way to keep your mind active and track your progress, without spending much time. With the portability of the Nintendo Switch, this fits with being able to pull it out on a break or while waiting for something.
If you want to compete online, whether it’s against friends or the world, you can in a way. Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain saves ghosts, so you can compete against people’s previous gameplay. Battling against strangers’ ghosts online becomes more challenging as your score goes up. I started by competing against a Canadian 7-year-old. Fortunately for my ego, I easily trounced them. After beating some other kids and a couple of people in their forties, my ranking went up and so did the difficulty of opponents.
The local multiplayer is probably the main draw. Two to four players can compete, playing the same minigame at the same time. That said, each player can have their own difficulty level which lets people of different ages and skill levels compete. And even with this feature, it does come down to skill. Your personal ability to identify, memorize, analyze, compute and visualize is what’s being tested here – not how good you are at video games. This is great because it’s both very competitive while allowing anyone to play – as long as they’re in the same room.
Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain is a great way to keep your mind active, as well as a way to fairly compete with people of all ages. As someone who rarely has to use math beyond basic addition, I could feel the skills slowly coming back to me as I continued to play. It does have some limitations such as direct multiplayer being local only and a limited selection of minigames, but considering the budget price and accessibility, it’s worth picking up.
BRAIN ACADEMY: BRAIN VS BRAIN IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to Nintendo for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.