I'm not much of a gamer but enjoy playing the word games and "brain" games on the DS. I bought this game as a gift for my 10 year old but I find I play with it more often than she does. She prefers games like Guitar Hero DS and Pokemon Diamond to this game.
This game makes a great companion to the Brain Age 2 game. Brain Age 2 gives you certain activities like unscrambling words, guess the right mathematical sign, counting change, memory sprint, play a song on keyboard etc. which are designed to activate different areas of your brain. Some are more challenging than others and you unlock more activities as you go further in your training. I would not recommend that game for children under 9 years old as some activities will be too hard. The instructor in the game, who is too chatty for my liking, also says things like "This activity will activate the pre-frontal cortex of your brain" which is geared towards 10+ ages.
Brain Academy on the other hand has a slightly easier format and most can be played by ages 6-adult. There are 15 activities (or mini games) divided in 5 groups - Think, Compute, Analyze, Memory, Logic. There are 3 activities in each group in which you can choose the level Easy, Medium or Hard. You begin by practicing each activity and your performance is measured in "brain weight". You get awarded bronze, silver or gold medals for your efforts, a brain of 250g or more gets you the gold medal. As you go on, the game fills in your Brain Pentagon graph (for the 5 areas) to tell you where you may need more practice. When you feel ready you can take the test after which the game will tell you your grade. I prefer the Brain Academy method of scoring which takes your strongest score on each activity. In BA2 your score for each activity gets recorded only once a day and if you do that activity again on the same day with better results it does not register the results.
On Brain Academy you can also organize play offs with your friends who have a DS using only one game. My 5th grader can beat me on this one more easily than she can on Brain Age 2 as the activities are not too hard, you just need to pick up speed by practicing them regularly.
I think my kid summarized it correctly and I am paraphrasing for her here. "Both Brain Age and Big Brain Academy have too few games. Once you know them all it can get boring. However, Big Brain Academy has more games than Brain Age 2 and when you play it you feel like you're having fun while learning. Brain Age 2 has the strict teacher who makes you feel like you're just learning." Although I like both games I sort of agree with her opinion.
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About the reviewer
Anjana Nigam (TechDiva)
I spend way too much time shopping (online and offline) and writing reviews. Good thing that I work in retail too! When I am not on Lunch.com I like to read and try out new tech toys. I grew up in India … more
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Big Brain Academy is a modern-day stress reliever that improves your thinking skills. These 15 activities test your brain powers and improve your thinking abilities in areas like logic, memory, math and analysis. Free your mind by working through a number of simple but deep problems. There are five different types of challenges, appropriate for all ages and challenging for all skill levels.