You can insist that size doesn't matter, but Playfish's Who Has The Biggest Brain is only helping to perpetuate such stereotypes. For shame. Who Has The Biggest Brain iPhone app is a competition, linked with social networking giant Facebook, that prompts the user to solve as many seemingly simple puzzles as possible in the one minute allotted in each of four categories: analytical ability, calculation, memory and visual processing. Each category has its own mini-games, 12 total. The puzzles deal with arrangements, order, repetition, spacial evaluation and similar concepts. A brain size is then derived from performance and compared with that of Facebook friends who also play. Be forewarned, it can be humiliating!
Who Has The Biggest Brain has several options on the home page — Play, Practice, Profile and Friends. A more games button is also on the main page and opens Safari to the Playfish site to explore other iPod games available.
Practice gives the user a shot to walk through all twelve of the mini-games available, without the score counting toward their profile.
Profile shows the highest scores and averages for each of the 12 games in Who Has The Biggest Brain. Even after multiple plays, it shows I still haven't competed in four of them, its a nice surprise to find that I have more to discover in the game.
The Friends page shows my ranking alongside that of my Facebook friends who participate. I'm in last place, but prepared to defend my poor scores with the burden of having to make notes and take screen shots while playing, for the sake of the review.
Tapping Play, of course, engages the user in the game. Each round of Who Has The Biggest Brain begins with a greeting from your pastel colored host. "Let's test four areas of your brain, one at a time, starting with your analytical ability," an adorable animation in a white lab coat tells me in a speech bubble. I click the green box with check mark, to continue.
The games seem so rudimentary at first. For example, my first analytical challenge was a random arrangements of blocks appearing, and I had to select how many there were. They fall in tricky 3D configurations that can confuse, but I seem to do well with the spacial challenge. In my calculation game, I have to select answers to equations, which my ACT scores will tell you is not my forte. A childlike game of memory with cards and simple shapes is next, matching hearts, clovers, stars and more. The lucky charms' cards will switch places though, increasing the difficulty as play goes on. Lastly, placing the correct missing puzzle pieces to complete illustrations also proves to be tough in the visual category.
At the end of my first game a trophy was unlocked, but my brain was apparently only 1,347 cm. Who Has The Biggest Brain labels me "A missing link brain." Ouch.
In another play, I had to select the heaviest items on a set of scales. The scales tipped almost instantly, weighing something heavier, like a flamingo, versus something small such a piece of sushi. But after a few tries a second and third set of scales would appear and determining the heaviest set of objects became the goal. "Are two pieces of sushi heavier than a cupcake?"
Disappointments were few in Who Has The Biggest Brain, other than downgrading to a dog-sized brain after another particularly sloppy round of play. I would have liked the Facebook connection to be more than my profile pic on the screens and those of my friends on the Friends page, playing against one another or initiating specific challenges might be fun.
While I understand it may undermine the spirit of a timed puzzle, but it bothers me that there no ability to pause in Who Has The Biggest Brain. A game isn't saved or can't be resumed if the app is exited during play, either. The sound can't be turned off, which is unfortunate as it serves no function in the game. It may help the player to mind the time, but a clock in the upper left corner does the same.
Who Has The Biggest Brain is a great test of basic logic and reasoning. It really offers longevity in its variety of games and competition-fed challenge to improve against friends and associates.