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Developer - NST
Publisher - Nintendo

Features

Wireless DS Single-Card Download Play
Wireless DS Multi-Card Play

Nintendo has found a market for games targeted at non-traditional gamers. Touch Generations is the aptly titled series that encompasses all of these types of games. The first release of this type, Brain Age, was a very simple but yet very successful game that challenged the mental ability of everyone who played it. Nintendo saw that they had something good going and they have released a very similar, but yet somewhat different game of this nature. Big Brain Academy is the newest iteration of mind-bending challenges and once you get into the various tests included on the DS cartridge you will forget was Brain Age was all about.

Graphics

As I played Big Brain Academy I could not help but think how simple but effective the visuals were. Having only Brain Age to compare it to there is a noticeable difference in the visual style. Brain Age was much simpler in terms of its approach while Big Brain Academy takes the idea of "simple" and adds some spice to it via a more videogame like appearance with addition of a cute character and a very different presentation. As noted it is still simple but it manages to one up Brain Age in terms of the pizzazz. Colors are bright and vivid, but this is something that people have come to expect on the DS


 

Big Brain Academy

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Category: n/a
 
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Developer - NST Publisher - Nintendo Features Wireless DS Single-Card Download Play Wireless DS Multi-Card Play Nintendo has found a market for games targeted at non-traditional gamers. Touch Generations is the aptly titled series that encompasses all of these types of games. The first release of this type, Brain Age, was a very simple but yet very successful game that challenged the mental ability of everyone who played it. Nintendo saw that they had something good going and they have released a very similar, but yet somewhat different game of this nature. Big Brain Academy is the newest iteration of mind-bending challenges and once you get into the various tests included on the DS cartridge you will forget was Brain Age was all about. Graphics As I played Big Brain Academy I could not help but think how simple but effective the visuals were. Having only Brain Age to compare it to there is a noticeable difference in the visual style. Brain Age was much simpler in terms of its approach while Big Brain Academy takes the idea of "simple" and adds some spice to it via a more videogame like appearance with addition of a cute character and a very different presentation. As noted it is still simple but it manages to one up Brain Age in terms of the pizzazz. Colors are bright and vivid, but this is something that people have come to expect on the DS’s screen (especially the DS Lite). This game has a lot of text to explain each the objective of each test and all of it is very legible. Overall Big Brain Academy does a solid job of presenting a good looking intellectual game but with a videogame style. Sound Something that really stood out for me was the music. A lot of games of this nature can either have music that is irritating or blends in perfectly. With Big Brain Academy the music melded pretty well with the on-screen action. It is kind of catchy and it actually seemed to add a bit more too each test I was taking. I find that if music in a puzzle game irritates me I just turn it off, but in this game I did not find myself doing so. As for the rest of the sound, there is not a whole lot going on so there was not a whole lot noticeable. There are some beeps and boops when playing, and a sound effect or two for a right or wrong answer, but that is about it. Overall the sound in the game is very much like the visuals, simple but the music adds a bit of pizzazz. Gameplay Big Brain Academy really shines in the gameplay department. As I was working through the various tests the game presented I couldn't help but think of my days as a university student when I volunteered for various psychology experiments that were being done for research purposes. They had me doing a battery of mental exercises and some of the tests in this game brought back memories of such. The game is broken up into five different categories: think, memorize, analyze, compute and identify. Each category has three types of tests and each is very different. For example, in "think", one type of test has you figuring out which items are the heaviest by looking at multiple characters standing on multiple scales. In the "compute" you may be required to solve math problems, but the equations are written in words, not numbers. In "memorize" you have to remember specific sounds or visuals and reiterate them on the touch screen. For "analyze" you are given such tasks as figuring out how many cubes are in a specific pattern. Finally in "identify" you may be required to identify items based on spinning silhouettes, the trick being there is one item on the touch screen that is not in the silhouettes on the top screen. All in all the variety of these tests is pretty good and adding three different skill levels for each type of test allow for some replayabilty as you try to master each skill level for each test. There are two specific types of gameplay modes for the single player to master. The first is Practice and the second is Test. Practice allows you to pick from any one of the five categories of tests. Within this category you choose from one of the three specific tests and one of three skill levels (easy, normal or hard). I found that these practice tests have some use to them as you learn what to do in each type of test and you will have a general sense of what to expect. Upon completing your practice test you are given a score (brain weight for that specific category) and you can earn a medal (bronze, silver or gold) for your efforts. The second mode, Test, is exactly what it says it is, a Test. However you are given a series of tests, one from each category, which equates to five tests in total. Whereas Brain Age is said to measure your brain's age, Big Brain Academy is supposed to measure the weight of your brain based on your performance on all five categories in the above mentioned Test mode. Upon completion of the Test mode you are provided with the weight of your brain as well as a definition of what type of work you would be good at. There is no scientific proof that these results are accurate, but it makes the game a little more interesting as you can brag to your friends that your brain is a certain weight and you are suited for certain types of work. I wonder what a videogame reviewer's average brain weight is supposed to be. Big Brain Academy also offers up some enjoyable multiplayer fun. Up to eight players can battle it out over the wireless waves with the DS wi-fi function. The great part about this mode is that you only need one copy of the game as you can utilize the download feature for multiplayer mayhem. Everyone plays the same tasks at the same time and the player to finish first gets the most points. During gameplay points are deducted for making mistakes and once a player reaches a certain score it is game over. Although simple it is pretty fun and a nice addition to a game like this. Conclusion Big Brain Academy is a great addition to the Touch Generations line of games. The puzzles are a bit tougher then those found in Brain Age, which in many ways is a good thing as the game is not a rehash of the previous title. As for measuring the weight of a brain, well there is no proof on the game's accuracy for such, but it sure leaves the door open for some interesting water cooler talk. Those looking for another mental challenge for their DS will definitely enjoy this game and the cheap price is a bonus too.



 
 

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