Brain teaser games are often great fun but rarely innovative.
But Nintendo are trying to make this new Brain Academy title on the Switch a bit different by focusing on four-player mind battles.
And the result is a fun little mini-game puzzler at a decent price point that will be a cracking stocking filler for Christmas.
Brain vs. Brain has five categories to test your mental abilities.
They include identifying games, memory tests, analysis games, computing efforts and visualising puzzles.
For example, under ‘Identify’, there’s a Fast Focus mini game where you have to guess the animal or object as it slowly zooms into focus.
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First one to the correct answer wins more points.
And on ‘Analyse’ there’s a Cube Game where you have to correctly guess the number of cubes in screen with ten multi-choice options available.
It’s all about pumping up your Big Brain Brawn score by answering the teasers both correctly but also as quickly as possible.
So no dawdling, get those answers in first, ahead of your multiplayer rivals, and your score soars.
Slow coaches get left behind.
It means what you’re left with is 20 twitch-reaction mini games that bring about spurts of fun and a real sense of competition between you and the friends-or-family you are battling against.
Some favourite mini games while we tested the title included Tick-Tock Turn, where you have to work out the clock time when character Dr Lobe asks you to add, for example, 240minutes.
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It’s tougher than you think and when you’re in a brain race with your dad over the Christmas turkey you won’t want to lose.
We also liked Get In Shape, where you have to successfully build an object displayed on the top screen from a series of random generated shapes at the bottom of the screen.
It’s all very easy to understand thanks to the well crafted menu and tutorial systems on the Switch and it means you’re deep within the best elements of this game very quickly.
Solo players can have a practice game to simply try to beat previous scores, or they can also play against ghost versions of their online pals based on their previous games’ data.
But the real fun is in the split-screen multiplayer mayhem and I loved virtually chopping up the Switch display in half, battling it out with a pal side-by-side in a battle of reactions and brains.
There’s something nostalgic to local multiplayer games when you’re both in the same room experiencing a title side-by-side. It really adds to the competition and makes these types of video games far more social than the now-usual online multiplayer efforts.
It could do with a few more mini games overall, but there are enough avatar costumes to unlock to warrant a repeated return to Brain vs. Brain.
And the gameplay is so simple and effective that you can drop in for short bursts without having to worry about long load times or system updates like you do on bigger console games.
Well worth a look if you like to test your mental mettle.
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