Big Brain Academy – Nintnedo Wii

With its huge success on Nintendo’s dinky little DS, it’s no surprise to find Big Brain Academy finding its way onto the Wii.

Playing such a huge part in selling the handheld system to the kind of folks who’d never previously dreamed of owning a gaming machine meant that it was sure to arrive sooner or later.

And sooner it has certainly appeared, but in not quite the same form as the DS versions.

Unlike the earlier games that came with the pretence of helping turn your mushy un-used mind into something much more polished, Big Brain Academy is more just a collection of fun little mini-games to be played in whatever order you like.

Using your created Mii character as you’re avatar, you’re offered up a variety of categories of mini-game, each of which testing a certain portion of your brain. And at the end, your ‘brain’ is weighed, and you’re given a score that you share online and show off to your fellow Wii owners that you fancy showing off to. The added "brain type" that you’re given too is a fun little addition too.

But with the single player action a little short-lived – there’s only a finite number of activities, and they’re not all that much fun - it’s the multiplayer side of things that packs the real punch.

There are a chunky number of multiplayer mini-games to sink your teeth into, in three differing separate modes. The first, Mind Sprint, allows four of you to simultaneously complete the tasks set out on screen, with the quickest to finish being the overall winner. This mode is absolute riotous fun, with off putting tactics a plenty as you push and prod your closest rival to give yourself a helping hand in being number one.

The other pair however both requires each of you to wait in turn for your go, meaning that you’ll be spending half your time sat watching your pals having all the fun. And you won’t find yourself drooling all over the visuals as you wait, which can merely be described as functional at best.

As for the mini-games themselves, most are focussed on swift tasks that require a simple bit of logical thought, just like the DS titles. However, there are quite a few new variants, including one which uses your Wii Remote as a telephone as you try to remember the food order you’ve just been given. Again, off putting tactics of shouting “pie, peas, and gravy” at random intervals are encouraged.

The problem is, the name makes you expect a little more to test your mental power. It’s all very well to include some nice multiplayer options to while away the hours on a lazy summer afternoon, but if you don’t have many gaming friends to call on, you’ll find Big Brain Academy a pretty dull experience. And with WarioWare so much fun, it makes Big Brain Academy seem all the more tedious in comparison.

Verdict

The DS’s multi-million system seller hits the Wii, and while it might be dumbed down, and reliant on its multiplayer thrills, it’s still well worth the tiny RRP it’s on offer for. As long as you’re not looking for just single player action, that is.

Recommended, but don’t go expecting anything quite as thoughtful as the DS version.