So, I picked up Big Brain Academy yesterday. It is in the same series as Brain Age. The interesting thing about it is that it has more of a childish patina, but I think that the challenges are more difficult.
There are five categories: Compute, Identify, Think, Memorize, and Analyze.
Each has three 'games' or tests under it:
- Add Agency
- Written Math
- Shadow Shift
- Get in Shape
- Bone Yard
- Sound Bites
- Flash Memory
- Missing Link
- Animal Lines
For each game, there are 3 difficulty levels. In practice mode, you can choose any of the games (they are all open from the beginning) and any difficulty level. You can then earn a bronze, silver, or gold medal in any of those.
In the Test part, the game randomly chooses one game from each category and you have 1 minute to complete as many problems as you can. You are then given you 'brain weight' and told that it is similar to something like an astronomer or Sherlock Holmes. The comparison is based on how you do in the various categories and your score.
Unlike Brain Age, it does not track your score from day to day, but saves your progress in practice mode and your best Test result.
For me, it is best to go through the games in practice mode first. They are all simple, but the on-screen instructions aren't great, so it took me a few incorrect answers to figure out what I was doing on some of them. However, I didn't read or even look at the manual.
At first, it seems simplier than Brain Age. Don't be fooled. Sure, there are cute cartoon elephants and stuff, but the problems are difficult at anything but Easy level. All of the games work by giving you 1 minute to solve as many problems as you can. Like the GRE, if you get a problem right, the next is more difficult. If you miss one, the next is easier. Or at least it seems that way from playing.
Two examples of problems:
In Written Math, the game might show this on the top screen:
"Seventeen plus ? minus twelve equals thirteen"
You have to enter the correct answer on the bottom screen, on a keypad (which means no handwriting recognition problems).
In Heavyweight, easy problems will show a scale, say with a diamond on one side and an elephant on the other. The elephant's side will be lower. On the bottom of the screen are 'cards' for a diamond and an elephant. You select the elephant because it is heavier according to the picture. On harder levels, the problems involve multiple scales and multiple different objects on each side of the scale. You have to figure out how they relate to each other and which is heavier. It's quite difficult, actually.
So, there you have it. At $19.99, if you are a fan of Brain Age, you will almost certainly enjoy Big Brain Academy as long as the cute nature of it doesn't get to you. Other than the lack of Sudoku, I actually prefer it to Brain Age.