Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain (Switch) Review


Back on the Nintendo DS the game Brain Age took the world by storm, becoming the fourth best selling game on the DS, beaten only by two Mario games and Nintendogs (which had multiple versions). The sequel was the seventh best selling Nintendo DS game. However, Nintendo also developed Big Brain Academy on the DS which was overshadowed by the more mature looking Brain Age. Big Brain Academy did well, clocking in at fourteenth best selling Nintendo DS game, but the units sold don’t even equal half of Brain Age 2’s sales, so I was surprised that Nintendo decided to revive Big Brain Academy even when the 3DS Brain Age titles didn’t even come close to the sales of its predecessors simply due to Brain Age being a far more recognizable franchise. I do however think this was the best decision possible.

MSRP: $29.99
PRICE I’D PAY: $29.99

I am going to make a possibly controversial statement: Brain Age was mean. It is one thing to get questions wrong but then grading me on that and saying my brain is old when I simply am not fast at doing math is a very linear way of grading. Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain made me realize that. Sure, it has games that involve math, but it also is looking at how well players think spatially, how good their memory is, how fast they can analyze and react, problem solve, and do math. There was minor things like the stroop test (that was broken) in Brain Age that provided some similar challenge, however while Brain Age gave one single score, Big Brain Academy gives the player the different categories that make up that score in order to show which areas a player should work on. I am no teacher, but I think parents who have kids who have difficulties learning could potentially use Big Brain Academy as a tool to discover how their children think and learn.

There are four different minigames for all five categories (Identify, Memorize, Analyze, Compute, and Visualize) making for a total of 20 different games which isn’t a lot, but given the quality of each minigame I don’t think it’s lacking. Once a certain amount of points are earned on each minigame in training, a more difficult training option is unlocked. There’s of course the testing section which chooses a minigame from each category at random to test the player. Then there is the online battle mode which I had a blast with. The game records other players playing the same minigames and has the player go up against other players’ ghosts in a really smart use of asynchronous multiplayer.

For synchronous multiplayer one needs real life friends or family to join, which I lack. However, I did look into it and the game allows for handicaps meaning adults won’t steamroll children as the adults will start off at higher levels of minigames while the kids will start at the base level. For example, an adult doing a memory game may have to memorize five digits while the child only has to remember two. The balancing is really well handled in this game. I noticed while going up against other players’ ghosts that the game would not put me against someone using the Switch’s touch screen on certain minigames due to it being much easier/faster to simply touch rather than move a cursor with an analog stick and select with a button. The amount of control options was pleasant to see.

With plenty of small costume unlocks and new sayings to collect, Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain does have small hooks to make sure people come back day after day. I do however think the small number of minigames may be disappointing to some and I hope that maybe with a future update we see more added. I also noticed when I was going against others online nearly everyone was from Japan which makes me think there isn’t a huge audience for this game yet. I think locally this game would be a better time, especially with kids in the household (even though I was addicted to beating others online) as I think kids are likely going to get the most out of this. The big takeaway I had other than a fun game that I enjoyed playing was that I am bad at math and I didn’t need a videogame to know that.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Friendly learning/training experience
  • Caters to different types of knowledge/thinking/learning
  • Cute aesthetic
  • Online is fun
  • Local multiplayer
  • A good amount of accessibility options
  • A little short on content
Written by
Anthony is the resident Canadian. He enjoys his chicken wings hot and drinks way too much Coca-Cola. His first game experience was on his father's Master System and he is a loyal SEGA fanboy at heart.