Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain
The Collection Of Mind Minigames Return
During the latter half of 2021, few developers have enjoyed the success of first-party releases like Nintendo has. Kicking things off with Metroid Dread, of course, the Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl remakes alongside a new Animal Crossing New Horizons season certainly helped. Even the lesser titles from its catalog have been getting their fair share of releases, with Big Brain Academy: Brain vs Brain being no different.
Cut from a similar cloth to that of Wario Ware, the Big Brain Academy series is a collection of mini-games used to test a player's psyche. The variety of games relies on hand-eye coordination as well as how adept they are in identifying patterns. While the games require knowledge of cognition and math, anyone can pick up and play knowing the premise of each mini-game. Not to be confused with Brain Age, Big Brain Academy debut on the DS and had another game on the Wii. This makes it the first BBA game in over a decade.
Even If You Know The Answer, You Don't
Before you begin, the game asks you several questions including your age and gender. I suppose the former is to compare those in your age group with others outside as far as your score goes. I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't Brain Age. I wasn't going to get embarrassed in finding out my "brain age." The range of mini-games made me feel a bit foolish, however.
Split into specific categories, some puzzles require brain analytics, memorization patterns, and mastery of perspectives. As there are many mini-games to cover, I'll instead list some of my favorite mini-games that I came across. The perspective mini-games are really fun as you have to not only take into account what's in your field of view, but what isn't.
Big Brain Academy Makes Sure You Really Don't Know The Answer
One of the early mini-games is an image identifying one, where players will select which of the four images fits the criteria. An example would be "wings," which means choosing an airplane. Because airplanes have wings. As the player does well, the ambiguity of the choices will increase.
In some minigames, this spirals out of control as one would ask to select numbers from lowest to highest. What begins simple enough ramps up as negative numbers are introduced. Now, suddenly the "highest" numbers are the lowest with a mere "-." If that's not enough, fractions are introduced in which I amusingly gave up.
Rewards Are Plentiful As Well As Replay Value
Based on the screenshots and my rather unique toon, Big Brain Academy has a lot of rewards for players who complete challenges. These range from accessories, outfits, hairstyles, and many more. There's a hidden mode that's teased for the player who achieves gold medals in every mini-game. While I didn't quite reach that point, the player can compare their score with others online via ghosts. Players can also compete in a randomized playlist in the form of a 'test'.
The appeal of games like Big Brain Academy lies in its replayability and its status as a party game. It's fun streaming in front of a group of people, playing with friends, and laughing at their failures. As a solo play game, it's fun in quick bursts but it's a mainstay in any player who likes brain-tickling activities. Nintendo is currently on a roll with reviving their dormant IPs, leaving hope for 2022's games. Who knows what may come next?
Big Brain Academy: Brain vs Brain is available on the Switch.