Friday, February 22, 2013

In-Depth review Part 3: Big Brain Academy 07/09/06

Ah yes, the game that trains your brain. Er, I mean the SECOND game to train your brain. Screw everyone who calls it a non-game. When you first start up Big Brain Academy you are greeted by a jello-twinkie hybrid complete with police stache, huge black eyes and a graduation cap that calls itself Dr. Lobe. The doctor is your teacher and at the menu screen(homeroom) he will say a specific phrase based on what time you set the clock to like "good morning" or "dinner time!" He also mentions that he is weak and doesn't call his mother often enough.... moving on. Big Brain Academy uses the dual-screen and touch functionality feature of the bottom screen for every minigame it contains. The first thing you'll want to do in Big Brain Academy is take Practice lessons in Practice mode. These are minigames which let you earn medals depending on how well you did. How many grams your brain weighs is equivalent to the number of points you got. The minigames take into account not only your percentage correct of different basic puzzle questions but how long you took and how many questions you answered as well. 50 grams is a bronze, 150 is silver, 250 is gold, and I'm not sure about platinum cause I only have one and it's not my highest score. These minigames are the same as the minigames you will take in the game's Test mode. There are 5 subjects each with three minigames. Here's a breakdown of all 15 minigames: Compute classes are all about your math skills. One minigame has you comparing the values of coins(press A to see numerical values on top of coins in case nickels and quarters get confused) by choosing the larger amount on the bottom screen("Coin Comparison"), another has you adding up cards on the bottom screen with a certain number of objects on each to equal the amount on the top screen("Add Agency"), and you can also do basic word-math by punching in numbers on the bottom screen's digital calculator("Written Math"). This subject is the most frustrating and boring but what did you expect? It's math, and at least it's helping you improve your skills. Identify classes have you tapping specifically shaped pieces on the bottom screen to fill in shadows of objects on the top screen("Get in Shape"), another has you choosing images on the bottom screen that match shadows on the top screen("Shadow Shift"), and another minigame has you finding pairs of the same cards on the bottom screen("Matchmaker"). This section is either ridiculously easy or in the case your playing "Get in Shape", seemingly unfair. You see the other two only depend on how good your vision is, but it's hard to determine what pieces do or don't make up an object. Think classes have you finding out what object weighs the most based on where it lies on multiple comparison scales("Heavyweight"), "Pathfinder" is hard to explain as you draw a line from one bar to another depending on where your animal turns on said bars in order to have it meet up with another animal.... yeah; finally, "Bone Yard" has you dropping a bone on a square of a grid where you think a dog will end up in that grid based on arrows showing you where the dog and other objects will move on the top screen. "Heavyweight" gets boring but Boneyard and Pathfinder get more fun as you figure out how to play them. Memorize includes a game called "Sound Bites" that has you memorizing in what order which objects made sound just like those old Simon says circular toys(for thos of you who never owned these you tapped whichever colors lighted up in order), another game has you memorizing quick flashes of numbers on the top screen and typing them in on the bottom screen's digital calculator("Flash Memory"), and finally a game that has you memorizing images and tapping them into question marks where they had appeared on the bottom screen("Memo-Random"). Memorize is one of the most fun subjects if not because it's probably the easiest. Finally Analyze has you connecting the dots but only to the correct places with the stylus("Missing Link"), while "Cube Game" has you counting up the blocks that make up certain structures regardless of whether or not you can see them; finally, "Animal Lines" has you tracing a pattern on the top screen in any direction on the bottom screen. Analyze is the most fun of the three more challenging subjects(compute, analyze, think) because it gives you a challenge without ever getting overly obtuse or confusing once you figure out how to play each minigame. Now you're ready for Test mode. This mode randomly gives you one minigame of each subject for you to play for 60 seconds each. Once the test is over you'll get a letter score based on how many grams your brain weighs(1700+ is an A, 1600+ is an A- etc etc) and what your brain type is based on which section you scored best on(your overall brain weight is added up from each individual minigame). For example I used to have a 1729g brain with an A and a brain type of musician because "Sound Bytes" was my best subject. I now have an 1809 with an A(where's the + Lobe?! You sick sadisistic twinkie!) and because I did the best on "Shadow Shift" .... I have the brain of a fashion stylist. Crap! While the game has nothing even close to "good graphics" the cartoon drawings serve the purpose well enough. The purpose of course is to train your brain in a fun way, a purpose the game fulfills indefinitely. Only a couple of frustrating minigames and a graphical deficiency keep this game from a score of 9 or 10. Despite these shortcomings this is still a fun and easy game that helps you train your brain and possibly one of the only games you wouldn't regret playing every day for the rest of your life at half the price of a normal game($19.99). Now if that doesn't say "value" to you, you need a dictionary. Badly. 8.5/10 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Touch Generations Platform: Nintendo DS Multiplayer: 2-8 with one cartridge and multiple DSs. Please note: Since none of my friends own DSs I can not review the multiplayer part of this game. I have heard nothing but good things, that's all I can say. Also note that the rating system for movies and music which is out of 5 gets changed to out of ten for games as there are more elements to consider.

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