Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-07-01 Wii Mini-games E (Everyone) Nintendo

Receiving Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree was probably one of the strangest yet unforgettable moments I've had during my reviewing years. The first thing I saw once I opened the package was my brand new diploma, signed by Dr. Lobe himself... apparently, my brain and I had already graduated from this particular institution without me even knowing it!

But that didn't mean there wasn't work to be done, so I sat down with my Wii-mote and checked out the new program of studies for this version of Big Brain Academy.

The game is controlled by simply pointing the Wii-mote and clicking a button when necessary, and when you first enroll in the Academy, you pick your Mii to represent you. Then, you will take your test to see where your brain stands, and then you can practice whatever you wish to improve.

Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree is very similar to its Nintendo DS cousin. There are plenty of activities to train your brain the five different subjects: Identify, Memorize, Analyze, Compute and Visualize. Each area of study has three exercises that can be played in Practice or Test mode, and also in three difficulty settings with one medal award per difficulty.

The Academy is bursting with mini-games of all kinds, some more complicated than others, but all interesting and fun. For those who have played the DS version, you will find some games reminiscent of it but with a twist (like the sound repetition game), but other than that, the tasks are brand new.

Art Parts is part of the Visualize series of games, and in it you must complete a painting by placing the pieces that are missing. Seems simple enough, until the paintings start appearing upside-down or rotated.

One that I really enjoy is the Balloon Burst. The task gives you a series of balloons with different numbers (including negatives) that you must pop in order, from lowest to highest.

The toughest Identify task was Fast Focus. This gives you an image that can be either blown up, pixelized or distorted and you have to guess what it is as quickly as possible. It's not as easy as I thought it would be, that's for sure! I've confused a sheep with a rhinoceros many times?

Other odd tasks include a memory game where you must watch the birds in the cages as they are covered and scrambled, placing train tracks on a board to lead the train to the exit, repeating sounds you've heard in reverse and doing little math operations by hammering away blocks with numbers.

As you do your training, you will hear encouraging comments come out of the Wii-mote. The novelty factor on this feature wears off fairly quick, but you can turn the remote sound down or off completely if you wish.

The major difference is that this time around, Big Brain Academy lets you exchange data and compete with other brains via WiiConnect24, or play with others in the same room in a "pass the remote" style.

There are three multiplayer features.

Mental Marathon, where you go through a series of activities that only last a few seconds, allows up to 8 players to play together as a team with a single Wii-mote. The game ends when someone makes a mistake.

Teams can compete against AI or other players in Mind Sprint, which gives you a set number of problems to solve. The first one to get them all, wins.

Then there's Brain Quiz, a gameshow type of game with 20 activities, where you flip cards to reveal what task is behind. The goal is to solve as many problems as possible in each activity to get more points. If you fail, the activity ends, even if you still have time left. You can play it alone or or with up to 8 players.

While Wii Degree still maintains the original format of the DS game, it compiles a series of brand new brainteasers that keep the franchise fresh, and adds a series of new features to include more of a competitive edge.

If you're into the brain exercising style of gaming, then you should enroll right away for the next semester of Dr. Lobe's exclusive courses.

Now, where should I hang my new diploma?


Special thanks to Eileen Tanner, Allison Guillen and Nintendo for providing a copy of this title.