Big Brain Academy - hands on

A year ago everyone was unscrewing their heads and proclaiming their undying love for Nintendo's handheld hit, Brain Age. A few months later, in June '06, the second wave of mind-muscling software came in the form of Big Brain Academy, a series a quirky minigames that focused more on fun than tracking actual performance as Brain Age did.

In June 2007, one year after the DS game hit, Big Brain Academy will return with another round of logic puzzles, this time on the Wii. If you spent any time with the DS you know that its "which shape is this?" style of games are much better when played with friends - hell, we spent an hour with the versus mode just last week. So when we saw a two-player throwdown up for the playin' at Nintendo's GDC booth, we felt compelled to represent.

Thing is, the versus mode is totally different on Wii. There were 24 minigames loaded in a queue, the same for both players, and whoever made it to the end of the puzzle-gauntlet first was the winner. And these games are fast - like Wario Ware fast. By the time we could process "Which animal is this?" the other guy had already noticed that this featureless shadow was a seal, and he was off to the next test in the queue. Uh oh.

So it went for 20 or so more games. Blue and red balls spew into a can - did more red or blue make it in? There's a train on a broken track - place the leftover pieces of railroad down so the train can make it safely to the end. Whack-a-moles are popping up, each with an item - hit the ones carrying key items you need to continue. A stack of numbers rests before you - knock two numbers away so the sum is five. An almost-completed Tetris puzzle appears - choose which block to blast away so the pieces will all fall in place. And it goes on.