Pocket gamers who play together, stay together... and develop an obsessively competitive drive to post the best scores even when play isn't possible face-to-face.
With the advent of Facebook Connect, Who Has the Biggest Brain? opens to the door to an all-new type of portable gaming in which competition gets social.
Rather than pitting you against a dearth of unknowns, this high class tester puts you toe-to-toe with scores of your Facebook friends. It writes a new chapter in social gaming, even if it doesn't necessarily do the same for brainiac gaming.
The game itself will feel instantly familiar if you’ve played other brain trainers. It consists of a series of mini-games designed to stretch your grey cells in four different areas: Analysis, Calculation, Memory and Visual Processing.
Each discipline has three mini-games to complete. An individual round involves playing one randomly chosen mini-game from each category, although you can also choose to simply practise individual mini-games. After completing a full round, you’re told how big your brain is and assigned one of 27 ratings to show how clever you are.
Your progress is also tracked via a smart calendar, which lets you dig into your improvements or slide over time in individual mini-games. Oh, and you win trophies for individual achievements, such as getting certain scores in games or playing a set number of times.
Your scores, friends and progress are charted across both iPhone and Facebook. Even better, achievements earned on iPhone are trumpeted on your Facebook news feed.
Since the brain training is of standard fare, it’s the social features that make Who Has the Biggest Brain? stand out. Linking the game to your Facebook profile is quick and painless, and, once done, allows you to see your profile from the web version (or creates one if you haven’t played on Facebook).
More importantly, it lets you see the score of every one of your friends who’s played the game on either platform, complete with their Facebook profile photo. Once linked, after every game you're able to see which of your friends you’ve overtaken. They even get an alert via Facebook to let them know you’ve outsmarted them.
It’s this competitive dynamic that drives the game's long-term appeal: forget improving your brain for its own sake: you’re improving it to win bragging rights in your social group. Now that the game is liberated from having to be played on a desktop computer, competitive types can really go to town. Literally
Could it be better? Yes. Once the iPhone 3.0 software touches down in summer, this game will be even more compulsive because you’ll get those competitive alerts on the iPhone itself, thanks to Apple’s new push notification features. But with months of grey cell growth to be had between now and then, you really should get in early.