Since Nintendo 'disrupted' the video game industry with its DS and Wii there has been a deluge of games for casual gamers. We've had Brain Training, Nintendogs and Wii Sports, but the latest is Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree. While Nintendo's previous titles in this area were simple, they packed in a fair amount of content and were good fun; Wii Degree stumbles due to simpler goals and wishy washy mini-games.
As with the Brain Training series the goal in Wii Degree is to improve the way your brain works, but here it's presented in a much less clinical fashion. You have five categories of mini-games titled Identify, Memorise, Analyse, Compute and Visualise, with each containing five mini-games. The number of games on offer is actually no worse than the likes of Brain Training, but the games here seem rather dull and less involving.
Whether you're picking out plants from a set of four pictures, destroying number blocks to leave the correct sum or building rail tracks to help a train reach its goal, the sense of learning and challenge just isn't there. It doesn't help that the goal in Wii Degree is to increase the weight of your brain - something that isn't so clear cut as lowering your brain age and completely nonsensical.
It's easy to have 20 minutes of fun with Wii Degree, and almost anyone old enough to read and perform simple maths can play, but you'll struggle to get more than a few sessions of fun out of it. While Brain Training hooked gamers in, Wii Degree is no more addictive than the numerous other mini-game collections released each year.
There's an element of competition in comparing your profile (which uses Miis) to that of friends, and the multiplayer modes are a good laugh, but it's all so forgettable. The presentation is about as simple as it could be, but it lacks the charm seen in WarioWare resulting in something that definitely matches its budget price tag.
It might be strange to criticise a mini-game collection for a lack of depth, but that's Wii Degree's biggest problem. Without 50+ games to play and none of the long-term appeal of Brain Training, what you've got is a game that will please you for a week and then rarely leave its case.