Big Brain Academy

Game review by
Jinny Gudmundsen, Common Sense Media
Big Brain Academy Game Poster Image
Popular with kids
Families compete for "weightiest" brain.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 27 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about and practice a wide variety of mind exercises in this diverse compilation of brain-focused activities. Players use logic to solve simple navigation problems, examine geometric puzzles that require spatial reasoning skills, work on a variety of simple math and measurement tasks, and test their short term memories in timed recollection activities. Many of the puzzles in Big Brain Academy are inspired by IQ tests but are simpler and place a greater emphasis on speed.

Positive Messages

Provides fun way for cross-generational players to compete on two or more DS's

Positive Role Models & Representations

There aren't really any personalities in this game, but players may take cues from the behaviors of other players in the same room.

Ease of Play

Individual games aren't too hard to figure out, but working quickly to score better can prove challenging.

Violence & Scariness

A sequel to Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game requires that players be able to read, understand money, and do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; this is not a good fit for kids younger than 8. With younger children, you may need to explain how to play the games under the "Think" category. Because this is played using a stylus on the DS touch-sensitive screen, it's an easy game for parents or other video game newbies to learn how to play. Overall, it's a terrific game for families to play together.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bynduns September 27, 2009

A good game for kids, but can be evil at times

Okay, I don't understand the grade system at all. It almost seems impossible to get higher than C+. Also, some of these games can be unfair, for example,... Continue reading
Parent Written byMelodyMV August 14, 2009

Maybe it's not for the Average Brain

It's a good game to test your skill within certain game categories, but after a while you get bored because it seems repetitive and get discouraged when yo... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDittyKitty March 22, 2014


I used to play this game when I was really young with my brother. It was hard to understand. I played it again when I was older and it was great! For a kid who... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byRaylazor December 11, 2013

Money goes a CERTAIN distance.

The game provides multiple ways to exercise a child's mind and is well worth it's $20 (Or regional equivalent.) Constantly encouraging your child to w... Continue reading

What's it about?

The premise behind BIG BRAIN ACADEMY, Nintendo's second title that promotes \"exercising\" your brain, is that you are competing for the \"Biggest Brain,\" a designation determined by how well you perform on the provided tests. Tests are made up of five one-minute Mini games drawn from a pool of 15 games and divided into five categories: Memorize, Identify, Compute, Analyze, and Think. Your test score is given in terms of grams -- the more grams your brain weighs, the smarter you are. In the Memorize category, one of the games flashes numbers on the screen and you punch those numbers into an on-screen calculator using the stylus. In one of the Identify games, you examine a grid of objects to find matching pairs. Under the Compute category, you will answer math problems that are written (\"thirteen plus eight is\"); and under the Analyze category you will have to determine the number of cubes in a picture. At the end of a one-minute game, you receive a score and if you missed any, you can review those questions and retry them.

Is it any good?

To compete against family members or friends, you only need one software cartridge, but as many Nintendo DS units as you have players. Parents and kids can go head-to-head answering the same questions to see whose brain is bigger. Since this game is easy to learn and tests skills adults are comfortable with, this is a good way for parents who have not played video games with their kids to jump in.

The brain scoring seems a little wacky but most of our testers were able to add weight to their brains the more they played. These games require players to know how to read, understand money, and do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; so this is not a good fit for those under 8 years of age. It is good for friends and family looking for a video game to play together.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about which of the 15 games they like best and why. Do you think you are getting smarter by playing these games?

  • Can you think of real-life jobs where math computations are a part of the job? Does the educational aspect of the games make you feel good about playing or does it feel more like homework?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading, spelling
    Math: arithmetic, sequences, shapes
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, memorization, problem solving
  • Price: $19.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release date: June 15, 2006
  • Genre: Educational
  • ESRB rating: E
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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