Big Brain Academy

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a game by Nintendo
Platform: Wii
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 8.4/10 - 5 votes
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See also: Puzzle Games, Educational Games
Big Brain Academy
Big Brain Academy
Big Brain Academy
Big Brain Academy

Off the back of the success of brain training games like Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! (also known as Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain?), Nintendo decided to make their own mind stimulating game for the DS console with Big Brain Academy. Focusing on short minigames to get your brain juices flowing, Big Brain Academy is great for short burst fun, and will quickly become a daily habit for practically any gamer.

Flex Your Brain Muscles

The crux of Big Brain Academy is what’s known as brain training, a selection of minigames that utilize the DS’ unique touch pad technology in order to give players different puzzling challenges. There are questions in logic, reason, maths, memory, and also for visual-based challenges. This variety gives Big Brain Academy some challenge for everyone, and no player will feel left out because they’re not particularly good at a certain topic, nor will they feel as if there’s no area where they can improve.

Brain Training

Players can engage with a total of 3 different game modes in Big Brain Academy. Because of the minigame nature of BBA, there’s no specific way to play, and no minigame has weight over any of the others.

Test mode has players going through the game’s ‘main’ game mode. Players are given a randomised test made up of a single minigame from each category. After the test, the brainy professor Dr Lobe gives you your brain weight, which is how Big Brain Academy measures skill. Specifically, the bigger the brain, the better.

There’s also practice mode, which lets players pick out activities at their own leisure. This is probably where players will spend most of their time, as it's easy to jump into and it's where players can really hone their Big Brain skills.

Finally, there is versus mode, which allows players to show off their brain skills in matches that can reach up to seven people.

All of these modes combine to create a fun, daily playloop that rewards strengthening your brain. There’s very few games that tantalise players with the daily reward of improving your cognitive skills, especially these days, but Big Brain Academy leads the way in making educational gaming both fun and effective for an audience that transcends gamer and generational divides.

Educational, Yet Fun

Big Brain Academy has the classic Nintendo charm written all over it. Players who are fans of the company’s cuter IPs like Animal Crossing. That said, the somewhat weird art style may put more casual fans off. Originally being a game made with Japanese audiences in mind, players can expect kawaii characters everywhere, wacky animations and other visual weirdness.

Still, the game is universal in how it presents everything in-game, but those looking for a more professional, clinical brain training game would be better off with Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training.


Despite its age and some of its artistic experimentation, there’s a reason Big Brain Academy sold like hot cakes back in the DS’ hayday. Combining brain activity with interactive minigames, Big Brain Academy is just one iconic game in the DS’ catalog, and paved the way for brain-focused games in the future. While it might not be as flashy or fleshed out as future releases, it still holds up tremendously.


  • Keeps your mind active and engaged
  • Helps with your memory, focus and maths skills
  • Educational but entertaining


  • Art style is a bit twee
  • Minigame variety is quite low
  • The brain training format has been improved significantly since its release

Download Big Brain Academy


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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Wii Screenshots

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