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June 2007



- A decent party game for all ages

- Simple intuitive interface



- Basics modes get played out pretty quick during single player

- Some of the magic from the DS original just didn't make it to the console version



Review: Wii Play (Wii)

Review: WarioWare Smooth Moves (Wii)

Review: WarioWare Mega Microgames (GBA)



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Big Brain Academy Wii Degree

Score: 6.0 / 10


I’ll be the first to admit that my brain could stand to shed a few pounds – forget all those handy Klingon swearwords, forget phone numbers that I haven’t dialed in ten years, etc. and I’d be better off for it.  While Big Brain Academy Wii Degree – the spin-off from the DS’s Big Brain Academy – certainly provides some laughs as a party game and a bit of mental workout ultimately it falls short, in what is quickly becoming a curse for Nintendo.


wii degree          wii degree


Quirky Nintendo handheld games, like the WarioWare microgames, have yet to transition successfully to a Nintendo console.  It seems like a little bit of magic is simply lost for some reason.


That said, there’s little doubt that Big Brain Academy Wii Degree will sell like hotcakes because it’s so accessible.  Each brain-building activity is done with the 




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Wii-mote, whether it be math, spatial judgment, counting, memory or whatever, all you have to do is wave the Wii-mote and hit the A-button.  The setup is big, bright and simple enough and attractive enough to look at without being too cutesy.


I’m not sure if the game actually made my brain bigger but it certainly provided some


cross-generational fun with my kids, especially the Mind Sprint multiplayer mode where you race through the challenges to beat your opponent.  Some of the challenges are too difficult for the younger set – which is okay, I always won! – but it might be interesting to see what Nintendo could do with a full-fledged (and I hate to say it) endutainment title for the kids.  (The other main mode, Mental Marathon, is like Mind Sprint but it’s played by one player and if you answer one challenge incorrectly it’s game over.)


A neat feature that caught my attention was that during the matches a tinny voice from the Wii-mote speaker squeaks out, “Keep it up!” or “You can go better!” or gives you a heads-up when it’s the last challenge in an attempt to break down the “fourth wall” as the theater people like to say.  Those aren’t the only (generally) upbeat quips to encourage you along as you attempt to match blocky shapes, spot the one different scene of four panels, remember what face you just saw, navigate a train through a simple grid, count a number of colored balls that landed in a basket, or a modified shell game where you have to track the movement of hidden birds as they’re shifted around a board then point them out when they stop moving.


Besides the practical use of Big Brain Academy Wii Degree as brain stimulation for the elderly and a straightforward party game, there’s not a lot to keep the hardcore gaming crowd to come back for a third or fourth go-round.  As I said, some of the multiplayer magic was lost in the transition to Wii, which puts a kibosh on some of the fun.


- Omni

(June 28, 2007)


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