I seem to be playing a lot of games similar to Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain lately. With the world opening back up, party games are on the rise again with titles like The Jackbox Party Pack Vol. 8, My Singing Monsters Playground, and Mario Party Superstars. At first glance, it might seem like Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain would not be a contender for a great party game, but it brings some new takes on the genre and brings a solid solo game as well.
Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain can be played in two ways, solo or party mode. When playing in a group, you compete against your friends in several categories, identify, memorize, analyze, compute, or visualize. You can choose a category or spin a wheel (obviously that’s more fun). You can choose from one to five matches to determine the ultimate winner, and then play a series of games that exercise your brain in one of the five categories.
I will admit, I don’t think this is the game to get you and your friends laughing and jumping around the house while you play. Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain is competitive, but you’re still playing in your own box, meaning that though you’re up against other players in multiplayer mode, you aren’t interacting with them at all. It still brings out the need to win, but you aren’t launching players off the field like in other party games. This can be positive or negative depending on how you look at it.
In party mode, with two players, you can use the Nintendo Switch touch screen or controllers, and with anything more than that you need to use a controller. I actually enjoyed playing with the touch screen the most. It gave a little bit of added excitement, similar to hitting a buzzer. Additionally, I found the touchscreen more accurate than controllers, as I found them more responsive. Occasionally, the joysticks wouldn’t move quite as fast as you want them to, or would move too fast entirely, causing you to hit the wrong answers (I’m not just a sore loser, it has happened to my family members too, I swear!). All in all, the mode is pretty straightforward.
“Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain can be played in two ways, solo or party mode.”
Solo mode is where Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain gets interesting. It was more worthwhile than party mode for me overall. Brain exercises don’t really strike as a great time, but I enjoyed winding down at night with some games. Even when I would change through the difficulties, making things more challenging, it felt rewarding. There is practice, test and ghost clash in this mode, and you can change your appearance, view rankings and handle the options.
Practice mode is straightforward. Work your way through the challenges, trying to get a gold medal in each. Test mode will help you rank where you lie in difficulty, and it guides you to where you can work to make the most improvement. There are definitely games you’ll need to practice with, and your ego may take a small blow. The good news is, if you enjoy collecting, you’ll keep pushing through solo, as you unlock new hats, outfits, and phrases along the way. The completionist in you will push on.
Ghost Clash is unique, in that it is an online mode, without actually needing to be live with another player. Big Brain Academy records other players’ reactions to the exact games you’re taking part in, and displays them alongside your gameplay. You can choose world ghosts, friends’ ghosts, family’s ghosts, or search for specific Ghost IDs, allowing you to play against anyone, even if you can’t be online at the same time. A neat little touch that makes the game more accessible for busy people.
“Even when I would change through the difficulties, making things more challenging, it felt rewarding.”
Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain features 6 difficulties from Sprout to Super Elite. Sprout is enabled when you are playing with younger children, and you’re recommended to start at beginner and gradually increase levels as you understand the games. I played with my six-year-old son and was pleasantly surprised. I completely underestimated him, thinking the games were beyond a child’s comprehension.
The instructions given are simple and, with a little guidance, he was able to master most of the exercises. He began with the sprout class and even ended up in the intermediate class for a few of the games as he got more comfortable. Big Brain Academy helped his confidence grow, and he was so excited to play, “We are DEFINITELY playing this again tomorrow.”
Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain is perfect for a fun family night. It is quick, educational and entertaining, making it perfect for all ages. It may not be the next big party game for a bunch of adults to help liven up a party, but it certainly has its niche and fills it well.