Think fast. Or just veg out and watch this video.
One thing I noted when I wrote impressions for the original Big Brain Academy on Nintendo DS was that it had a distinct WarioWare feeling. Such is the case again with the Wii version. Big Brain Academy feels like WarioWare, except it requires at least as much thinking as reflex. The game actually feels more frantic than WarioWare because a poor performance says something about your actual thinking ability (however low-level). This is especially true in the multiplayer mode, the premiere mode of GDC 2007, since two teams (one to four players each) compete against each other to complete a set of microgames. In this mode the screen is split vertically by a progress meter. Multiple levels of difficulty offer an increasing challenge and the number of microgames per match is also selectable. Failing a microgame requires you to repeat it until you successfully complete it, which can be agonizing depending on the game. Miis are also used as avatars to represent players, and percentage correct and completion time are noted at the end of the match.
The games’ tasks vary widely and are designed to test different cognitive abilities. The five categories of tasks from the original return: think, identify, memorize, compute, and analyze, and may be mixed together. Some games simply tell players to watch carefully and then ask them to identify which character appeared while they were watching or which color ball was tossed into a basket most frequently. Another is a variation of the classic shell-and-pea game, where players must keep track of multiple items as they are swapped around. In a variation of Pipe Dream, players must figure out which directional piece to add to a path as a train travels down the track. Another game has players popping numbered balloons in a given order. Yet another has players recounting sequences of objects in reverse order. Some games are more reflex-based; a whack-a-mole style game has players collecting specific items from a list. One game shows four movies simultaneously and the player must click the one that is different. Another shows a distorted or concealed version of an image and the player must identify the subject of the photo. A block puzzle has players removing certain blocks to match a shape. Similarly, given a stack of numbers, players must remove certain numbers to allow the remaining numbers to total to a requested sum. Another game shows two versions of an image, with objects missing from the bottom image. The pointer is used to paste these objects in the proper locations.
Big Brain Academy looks to be a lot of fun and forces players to do a little thinking on their feet. The release date is June 11th, but you can check out some video of the game right now.