Review: Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree
"Ah, you must enjoy basking in the warm sun on a peaceful day... Because that's how you just played! Rouse yourself! Try again!"
The vaguely peanut-ish Dr. Lobe is the big boss on campus, so if you've come to the Big Brain Academy looking for your Wii Degree, prepare to succeed or face some scalding criticism!
Learning New Tricks
Similar to the original DS version, the academy offers five subjects: Identify, Memorize, Analyze, Compute, and Visualize (switched from the DS's "Think"). All of the associated tasks are brand new for the Wii, with the Remote used almost exclusively to point-and-click or grab-and-drag. The important thing is that whether you're trying to memorize the goofy faces weird little cartoon kids are making, or popping numbered balloons in order, it never feels like work or studying.
Playing single player in the practice area or racing against your personal bests in the Mind Sprint can be pretty fun. Earning medals doesn't really get you much else besides an extra expert mode and bragging rights if you send your student records to your friend's Wiis. The real reason to buy this game, however, is definitely the multiplayer.
The game supports up to eight, but you only need one or two Wii Remotes, since the games are played hotseat-style, though we were a little miffed that you don't have the option to use four remotes if you have them. Either way, all modes are tons of fun when played in a group. Splitting into teams for Mind Sprint is good for quick play, but it's pretty exciting to watch your team's Mii face inch ahead on the tracker as you race through tasks. Mental Marathon is decent to play alone, but in a frenzied group passing the Remote while anxiously hoping the next person doesn't ruin the streak, it's even better.
Finally, Brain Quiz is worth checking out for the five additional activities, even if the slower paced card game-like approach isn't your thing. The random difficulty and occasional score multipliers add a compelling element of chance, keeping players on their toes in a different way from the rapid hand-offs of Mind Sprint.
Bang for Your Buck
That's about all you get when you buy this game for the full fifty dollar price tag, and for some, that may not be enough. People play brain games everyday for a while so as not to disappoint their digital tutor, but sometimes it gets old after a while. While the DS version did feature downloadable multiplayer, you still had to have a bunch of friends with DS'. The Wii advantage is that even with just one remote, you can invite a pile of people over to party and have a really good time together. Big Brain Academy Wii Degree really plays to the Wii manifesto as far as being something that everyone can play and enjoy--definitely a game to share with little cousins, as well as your parents.