Nintendo Media Summit: Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree hands-on (Wii)

Colin Torretta
C. Torretta|05.25.07

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Nintendo Media Summit: Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree hands-on (Wii)
The sequel to the DS hit, Big Brain Academy, was shown this week at the Nintendo Media Summit. Dubbed Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree, this version offers tons of new mini-games to test your senses and give your brain a workout. It supports three multiplayer modes for up to 8 players, and 15 new challenges for single-player mode. It also allows you to trade your student data over WiiConnect24 with other players, allowing you to challenge others and compare results. In a nice touch, the game also imports all your friend's codes automatically.

The gameplay is focused on fast-paced small minigames that are meant to help you increase your mental capacities in one of five areas: Identify, Memorize, Analyze, Computer and Visualize. The game tracks your progress and gives you a diagram showing your strengths and weakness in the different categories. To improve a poor stat, you need to play games specific to that category. For example, if your Identify skill is low, you could play "Fast Focus," in which you see a distorted image slowly revealed. The point of the game is to correctly guess the subject of the picture as quickly as you can, using the Wiimote to select the answer from a provided list. "Fast Focus" was probably my favorite of the minigames, but unfortunately I saw quite a few images repeat after only playing it for a short time. Kind of a bad sign for the longevity of that particular minigame, but may have just been a fluke.

The graphics are clean and fairly minimalistic -- using Miis for characters and being set in a featureless school added to the simple look. The professor character reminds me of a schmoo though, which gave me a constant and unsettling urge to eat him. Other than the slightly cannibalistic tendencies that the game awakens in me, it seems like a solid addition to the Big Brain Academy series. The online features are nice, the graphics are unoffensive, and the gameplay seems solid. It would have been nice to have more challenges, but this should be a solid pickup come June 11th for Wii owners looking to exercise their brains a bit.

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