It’s big brain time!
Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain, the third game in the Big Brain Academy franchise, was just released for the Nintendo Switch. I bet you’ve never seen the word “Brain” so many times before and are now contemplating what a weird word it is. Nevertheless, time to put our grey muscles to the test!
|Don’t buy if
– You liked previous Big Brain Academy games
– You want to solve fun puzzles
– A little brain exercise doesn’t scare you
|– You disliked previous Big Brain Academy games
– You only like boring puzzles
– Your brain has been eaten by zombies
Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain – we’re out of shape
Nintendo must think we’re either too lazy to train our brain or that we’re a lost cause. We haven’t been able to send our brain to the gym for quite some time now. The last instalment in the Big Brain Academy series launched in 2007 for the Nintendo Wii, aptly named Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree. Although its reception was decent, it wasn’t very convenient to play with the Wii Remote. It mainly relied on the success of the game that started it all.
Big Brain Academy came to the Nintendo DS in 2005. The game tests your, you guessed it, brain by making you solve puzzles. To score better in said test, you’re encouraged to practice regularly, if not daily. And of course, you can compete against others to find out who’s got the best brain. Making good use of the Nintendo DS’s touch controls, this game was a big hit. I’m honestly surprised it took so long for the game to make a comeback on the Nintendo Switch, since the console is also a perfect handheld.
Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain – let’s get puzzlin’
Time to get mental and enrol in the Big Brain Academy. Dr. Lobe, headmaster of the academy, will guide you through the process and be your mentor. There’s some very basic character customization, for which you’ll unlock new items as you play the game. The style of the character is very cute and looks like a drawing, just like Dr. Lobe. The style and design of the game give off a pleasant and relaxing vibe, but don’t be fooled. We’re ready to get down to brainy business.
Although the title is Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain, you don’t have to battle it out against others. I recommend you spend some time in Solo-mode first, because here you’ll get to practice every puzzle the game has to offer. There are four different modes on offer here: Practice, Super Practice, Test and Ghost Clash.
In Practice you do puzzles against a time limit, if you solve the question you get points. If you answer incorrectly, you lose points. The punishing system works really great, since guessing the right answer shouldn’t be encouraged. You’re here to work out your brain after all, not to test your luck. Puzzles are divided into five categories: Identify, Memorize, Analyze, Compute and Visualize. Each offering four different puzzles. If you do well, the difficulty level will go up automatically and you’ll be able to reach higher scores. Once you’ve received gold medals on every game in Practice, you unlock Super Practice. It’s basically the same mode, but you start every puzzle on a much higher difficulty. Try to unlock this mode ASAP if you’re serious about working out your brain.
In Test you’ll have to solve a puzzle in every category to determine just how mighty that brain of yours really is. It’s a great way to keep track of your progress. Dr. Lobe will analyze the results for you and make some suggestions for improvement.
In Ghost Clash you’re entering multiplayer territory. You face off against someone else, either random or a friend, in one puzzle per category. The cool thing is, that this is not real time. You’re playing against a recording of someone else playing. Not only does it allow the game to pitch you against players of the same brain-level, it also nearly eliminates lag due to poor connection. Pro-tip: you’re at a great advantage if you play handheld using touch controls against someone using a controller or joy-con. It’s simply fact!
Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain obviously has to offer a party mode. The puzzles aren’t only engaging for your mind, but quite fun mostly. I personally have the most fun with “Fast Focus” in the Identify category or with “Speed Sorting” in the Analyze category. Anyway, party mode lets you play with up to four people using controllers, or even with two people using the touch screen. You face off in a similar way as during Ghost Clash, but now in real time. You can choose to “Spin the Wheel” if you don’t want to pick the puzzles yourself, or just go by category and select whichever puzzles you want to face-off in. Every player will get their turn to pick a puzzle. Most importantly though, you get to individually select the difficulty. The game even offers a special “Sprout Mode” for smaller children.
Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain – conclusion
Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain isn’t all that different from previous installments in the franchise, and that’s perfectly fine. The Nintendo Switch is the perfect console for this game: you’re able to really engage your brain in handheld mode, while the system can also be connected to your TV to battle it out against friends or family in party mode. If you don’t plan to actually use the party mode, this game is still well worth it’s money. At a price point of 30 euros, you’re getting your money’s worth. Although there are “only” 20 puzzles, that’s already plenty if you want to master them all. You’ll learn that you’re not as good in every category – and that’s normal. Let’s keep it up in 2022 and aim for a stronger brain.
Major thanks to CDMedia for the opportunity to review this game. Note that the game has a free demo if you want to try it out.