Brain Age - Dr. Kawashima + Wario Ware = ?
Though touted as Brain Age for kids in Japan, the US version of Big Brain Academy is actually quite appropriate for all ages. Big Brain Academy can be described as a combination of Brain Age and Wario Ware. All challenges are about how fast you can interpret the problems presented and answer them as a relatively short counter (less than a minute for each) ticks down.
Each game progresses through five different challenges, each meant to assess a different part of your brain. The modes are Identify, Think, Memorize, Compute, and Analyze. In Memorize mode, I played Memo-Random where a number sequence was flashed on the screen and must be entered quickly in a calculator. I played CubeGame (not GameCube) in Analyze mode, where you are required to count the number of blocks, including hidden blocks. In Compute mode, I played Coin-parison, in which two sets of coins are presented and the player must choose the side with the highest total value. This can get tricky thanks to the dime being smaller than the nickel. I played Matchmaker in Identify mode, a game where you must find the matching pair out of several panels. Finally, I played a prediction game in Think mode, where you must figure out which block in a grid a dog will end up in given a sequence of directions.
At the end of each game, points gained in each mode are totaled and a “weight" is given that represents your brain. From observing other players, I found that most people did not rate anywhere near the “adult" brain weight. However, some of the games are confusing until you can figure out what they want, which leads to low scores in certain modes.
The game is point-and-click, and thus works well on the DS. The only real annoyance I had with the game was in regards to how inputs were processed. Correct answers are automatically scored, and answers requiring multiple digits are evaluated as each digit is pressed. Thus, if you make a mistake, you can’t fix it, though this is probably part of challenge. Even if you didn’t find Brain Age engaging, you’re more likely to have fun with this game, as it is closer to a real game.