Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Nintendo, Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain – Review

Site Score
7.7
Good: Simple, Easy to get into, Fun, Online battles
Bad: Bonus points can be exploited
User Score
9.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It’s been a while since we last heard the title ‘Big Brain Academy‘. This series spawned two earlier releases, one on Nintendo’s DS, the other on the Wii. Even though these games were quite popular, they somewhat faded to the background due to bigger releases and perhaps the oversupply of other similar puzzle experiences. Now; however, the series makes a grand reappearance with its new Switch title, Brain vs. Brain, which focuses on multiplayer and online play. Coming at half the price of a normal Nintendo title, we were curious how we could¬†flex¬†our brain(s).

Story

Even though there is no real narrative to be found in Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain, the famous Dr. Lobe will accompany us on our journey to ‘flex our brains’. The doctor gives us an explanation of how things work, and he also hands us our results after finishing games or playing online. The game does not require a story to be interesting, as it’s all about the gameplay.

Graphics

Graphically Big Brain Academy looks very simplistically designed, albeit with enough details to create something very likable. The game is very colorful, and each puzzle game does have its own specific visuals. The game will present you with a lot of cosmetic items to spice up your avatar the more you play, but as a whole, this game reminds us of old-school Flash games, very much akin to the ones we found on Newgrounds. The latter isn’t a bad design choice, as it makes this title very accessible for a wide variety of (casual) puzzle gamers.

Sound

The sound design of the game isn’t too bad. Dr. Lobe speaks a language very much akin to the gibberish we hear in the Animal Crossing games, making you feel right at home. The music is fairly upbeat, but some tracks do tend to get on your nerves. Other than that, the SFX do what they’re supposed to, but there’s nothing truly memorable to be found here.

Gameplay

Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain is a fairly simple puzzle game that presents you with different short minigames that serve to stimulate different parts of your brain. You’ll have five categories to choose from: Identify, Memorize, Analyze, Compute and Visualize. These categories relate to what you’ll have to do. Simply put, Memorize may mean that you have to memorize numbers or pictures for certain games, while Identify will test how quickly you can recognize items on pictures. As a whole, there is not that much to the game, and you’ll be playing in a matter of minutes.

The game will only have around 20 mini-games for you to play, and these games often don’t take much longer than a minute or two to actually beat. This means that Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain could actually be considered as a hyper-casual experience. Thanks to this, the game is perfect for very short play sessions and to hone certain skills.

Even though this new release in the franchise is great for single-player play, the game is also heavily focused on local multiplayer, as well as online play. The latter is against other people’s ghost data, which means you’re not battling live, and you’ll just be taking on someone’s past achievements. Once again, this means you can just pick up and play whenever you like, and you’ll always have ‘someone’ to battle against.

The more you play the game, the more you’ll unlock new cosmetics for your avatar, but also the more you train your skills. Spending some time with the game does help you with certain skills, and it might even make you aware of some of your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to work on them. All mini-games are unlocked from the start, and the game does have different difficulty levels. These difficulty levels can be set for each player individually when playing local multiplayer. This means that children can take on adults in a fairly fair environment. Players who fall behind a lot during matches will get a massive boost of points when they answer correctly, but this boost feels a bit like overkill. It would have been better to make the points gap between the winner of a question and those who answer later a bit smaller, rather than implement a massive bonus. The bonus can also be exploited, as when you’re far behind, but are getting close to the 50 out of 100 mark, you best wait and perhaps even skip a question, as the bonus will only trigger during the home stretch. If you have then kept your score under 50, winning the next question might just put you in the lead all of a sudden, even when answering slower than the other player(s).

Conclusion

Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain is a very amusing puzzle game that’s perfect for both single-player and multiplayer sessions. The latter can be enjoyed offline and online. We found ourselves going for ‘one more battle’ each time, allowing us to unlock new items and climb the online rankings. As a whole, the game might be light on content, but it’s heavy on the amount of fun the be had.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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