According to my PS Vita, little old me is smarter than the average male. I'm also smarter than the average person who uses the internet for news. Want to know what else? Well, I'm also technically the smartest person in Brighton, although I'm not sure how much that counts since I'm the only person on the leader board. You may have guessed by now that the source of this information is SmartAs, a clever and always connected experience that tests your brain power and helps you to improve it. But just how good is this game and is it worth the time you will spend visiting it each day?
SmartAs is the PS Vita's way of training your brain, asking you to visit every day, play some games and register your score with the world. Narrated by the familiar voice of John Cleese, you will be kept informed and amused as he takes you through the game, giving you words of encouragement and congratulating you when you do well.
The first time you visit SmartAs you will take the daily test which is split into four key ares; Arithmetic, Language, Logic and Observation. To get your daily rating, which is given as a percentage out of 100, you will need to play one game based on each of the aforementioned areas. These games vary every day, consisting of challenges such as adding and subtracting numbers; memory games; spelling challenges or even puzzles where you have to use the Vita's gyroscope to move two blocks simultaneously into their correct position.
Most of the mini-games use the front touchscreen or rear touchpanel, for instance in the arithmetic games you write your answer on a blackboard; while in another game known as Turbo Tap you use the front screen or rear touch panel to tap the relevant boxes as they appear on the screen. Once you have completed the four mini-games you are then presented with a percentage rating for each area of your brain, giving you an idea as to which area you need to work on most.
So far it may sound like this game doesn't offer much else other than a daily challenge, but you'd be quite wrong in thinking this. As you play each daily challenge you unlock new games in each of the key areas. These games vary greatly and all offer a unique challenge for you to play through. An example of these games include the likes of the Observation based Where is It? where you need to recall which cup an item is under. This is an interesting example actually as it's an AR game, so you'll need to dig out the AR cards which came with your Vita in order to play. Other games in Free Play include the likes of Spell It, which does what it says; Sum sequence, which has you remember sum totals in your head; Live Puzzle, that has you put together puzzle pieces which then make up what your camera is looking at and there's also Word Wheel, the object of which is to rotate a wheel and create a word from the letters. All of the Free Play games are made up of Easy, Medium, Hard and Genius difficulty levels. So if you achieve three stars in one area then you'll unlock the next.
One of the most impressive areas of SmartAs is the World. Throughout the game you'll be asked questions such as whether you prefer cats or dogs, if you are left or right handed or if you prefer Internet or newspapers. This information is then utilised on the loading screens telling you how smart you are compared to those with similar likes and dislikes. The SmartAs World also has this on a larger scale, providing many charts based on these questions, as well as providing information such as who the smartest person is in each area, be it in the same town, country, region or the world. Other information will allow you to see which countries are the smartest or how you compare to your friends.
If you wish you can also take part in near challenges or street challenges which are based on the current area you're based in. Here you will see populated leader boards and it's up to you to take the challenge and get your name on top. It's a very connected experience and a lot of fun too.
Another area worth mentioning is the Stats and Charts. Here you can see how you are improving each day and can even place a friend's chart alongside your own in order to compare each other's progress. The charts are broken down into the four areas mentioned previously, allowing you to see where you need to improve the most. Going deeper into this area will allow you to see stats for each of the games you have played, check out any improvements and see what your strongest and weakest games are.
SmartAs will be released as a retail and digital title, although it's a little cheaper than the bigger budget games. In this respect it offers pretty good value, giving you bite sized gameplay as well as a reason to revisit each day. If I had one worry it'd probably be that it could get a little repetitive after a while, although it could take you quite a long time to complete all the challenges and who knows, you may even get a little smarter along the way.
(Version Tested: PS Vita)
- Connected Experience
- Fantastic Presentation
- A good variety of mini games
- Has a decent price for what it is
- Could become repetitive after a while
- Visiting each day to unlock new games seems unnecessary