As I begin this review I can glance over on my desk and see two mind game puzzles books within arms reach. Lateral thinking games, riddles, sudoku, crosswords. All of them speak to me. And if they speak to you then Big Brain Academy: Brain Vs Brain will as well.
When I heard the Brain Academy series was getting another game I was really hoping it would come stateside. I was a bit unsure, because the last Brain Age game has yet to grace my shores. But here it is - on my Switch, in my home.
Starting is easy. You simply create your avatar and you’re off to your training.
The main gameplay is split into five categories; identify; memorize; analyze; computer, and visualize. Within these five categories are 20 different mini games, five in each one. The mini games are easy to understand, and getting into them took no time at all. After each round you’re given a score, once you get a gold medal in each of the mini games while in practice mode you can unlock super practice mode. In super practice mode the games begin at higher difficulty to make playing a bit more challenging.
When it comes to mini games, some are more enjoyable than others. What games you enjoy most is likely subjective. I thought I would hate all the math style games, and I kind of do, but found myself scoring high marks in all of them. After a while you can test yourself, and get an overall score. I found myself scoring low on some categories I thought I would be good at, and trained myself to get better.
While you can not play directly online with a friend, you can try to best them through Ghost Clash. This mode allows you to try and beat their recorded stats. The game also holds world records, resetting monthly. If you’ve ever wanted to feel a little dumb, go right ahead on see just how proficient some people are.
As I said at the start, Big Brain Academy: Brain Vs Brain fits the kind of brain games I enjoy. I find myself doing the New York Times Crossword daily mini puzzle before I go to bed every night. The mini puzzle only takes a few minutes to complete and now I’ve found myself hopping into bed and playing through a few challenges after. I’m pretty sure this is becoming my new nightly activity.
One of the few marks I have against Big Brain Academy: Brain Vs Brain are in the visuals. While the mini game visuals look just fine, the game as a whole feels like it was made to appeal to a younger audience. And I get that. The Brain Academy games have always felt a little on the childish side when compared to the Brain Age counterpart series. Unfortunately for people in the United States, we did not get the last Brain Age; Dr Kawashima's Brain Training. The bright, pastel like colors, the stick figure style avatar, and all the collectibles help perpetuate that the game feels like it is for a younger crowd. The large amount of items you can collect for your avatar fit with the style they want to give off; but don’t add any real value to my experience.
Like all Switch games, you can play this game either docked or handheld,but playing on a tv is only worth it when playing against a friend in person. Playing using the touch screen is the best experience, by far. The controls with a joy con are fine, but when you’re trying to get through as many rounds as possible in a short time frame the touch screen is the way to go. After my first time playing I found myself taking the joy cons off the Switch and just playing with the unit almost like a tablet. The only downside to that was when I would dock the system to play with a friend, I found myself not playing as well as I was with the touch controls.
Big Brain Academy: Brain Vs Brain shines when holding the Nintendo Switch in your hand. Making joy-cons non essential when playing solo is exactly what the franchise needed. The amount of mini games feels like a sweet spot of not too many and more than enough to keep someone busy. Being able to measure yourself against friends or with strangers online is exactly what the series needed.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I still remember the Christmas morning I woke up to find a Super Nintendo Entertainment System under the tree. It pretty much cemented me being a Nintendo guy, I dare say even during the Wii U period (I still love it). World of Warcraft has been the game to dominate most of my time, time and time again. I'll wet my beak on every expansion, if not dive head first (looking at you Burning Crusade, Wrath, Legion).
The only two genres I steer clear of are racing (punny!) and sports games. I find that I have been slowly falling for roguelikes over the past year.
If I’m not playing games I’m usually making a podcast with my wife Tessa (it's called Tessa and Elliot Argue). I enjoy the hobby so much I started a podcast here at Gaming Nexus, The Gaming Nexus Show, look it up.View Profile