Big Brain Academy: Brain vs Brain is the latest, multiplayer edition of the cult classic puzzle game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. Compete solo, online against ghosts, or against other players in your proximity in 20 different brain-twisting mini-games to prove whose brain has more brawn.
The first new entry in the series in nearly 15 years, Brain vs Brain doesn’t skip a beat. It returns the classic tap-to-play style of challenges of the DS and Wii with total mastery. It’s so simple but so easy to get sucked into because it’s also exceedingly challenging. And the game is ever better designed than ever to get you trying to reach that higher score again and again.
Foremost, the game couldn’t be a success without good minigames. With five categories of 60-second brain teasers and four games within each, there’s a lot of variety, whether you’re playing in practice mode and choosing your challenges, playing in test mode where you randomly receive one from each category or playing online in Ghost Clash mode. You’re neither constantly playing the same games over and over nor are you receiving the same questions over and over with each new try. They’re all fun and creative and absolutely test different aspects of your brain you didn’t even know you had.
But what keeps you engaged for hours on end is three things: a rating system that pushes you constantly to score higher and get better metals, lots of fun costumes to unlock for your avatar, a consistent feeling of being smart. The rating system has been a highlight of the series from the beginning, pushing you to achieve higher and higher scores while feeling smarter and smarter the more you practice. The costumes unlock every ten coins you earn, which are accumulated by simply playing or achieving higher scores. And Dr. Lobe, the series’ mascot, keeps you always encouraged as you play and grow your brain.
Brain vs Brain has a strong multiplayer mode as well. You can play against the ghosts of friends and strangers, for starters, giving you an asynchronous opportunity to compete. There’s also a local multiplayer where you can play in a versus match on the same console face-to-face with touch controls or with your to four players using controllers. It’s not what I’d call a thrilling party game if you’re just simply better at these types of games than your friends. Nobody wants to feel dumb compared to friends just because the video game calls their brain less brawny. But if you think you’re brave enough to test you brain game prowess against friends, it’s certainly a fun mode where you compete to reach 100 points fastest by completing levels faster.
The fact that Brain vs Brain so heavily emphasizes touch controls is really appreciated. The controls don’t move as fast with joysticks and buttons so being able to tap on the Switch’s underutilized touch screen is very welcome. You can play with a controller, certainly, but admittedly some games just don’t work quite as smoothly when you can’t quickly tap on things.
Brain vs Brain is a very welcome return to a long-forgotten series. While it doesn’t offer anything quite so new besides new mini-games and a strong multiplayer mode, it’s absolutely difficult to put down and full of challenging fun.
Brain vs Brain is available now on Nintendo Switch.
Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain
- Rating - 8.5/108.5/10
Brain vs Brain is a very welcome return to a long-forgotten series. While it doesn’t offer anything quite so new besides new mini games and a strong multiplayer mode, it’s absolutely difficult to put down and full of challenging fun.