If you consider yourself an intelligent person then Smart As is a game that will truly put your brain power to the test and let you see how you compare to your friends, neighbours, countrymen and the rest of the Smart As community. Best of all you can broadcast your achievements to your Twitter followers and Facebook friends so everyone can know just how clever you are!
Smart As features twenty brain-taxing mini-games spread across four categories that include Observation, Language, Logic and Arithmetic. Each challenge has four difficulty levels ranging from ‘Easy’ to ‘Genius’ and each of these difficulties has its own separate online leaderboard and graph that shows your best time and score (one to three stars) on any given day. New mini-games unlock as you complete your Daily Training which is comprised of one random challenge from each category, and you can unlock the next difficulty level for a particular mini-game by getting three stars on the previous difficulty.
These mini-games occasionally incorporate the PS Vita’s unique features such as rear touch, Augmented Reality, motion controls, and the handheld’s cameras, meaning that there’s no lack of variety as you engage your brain in tough tasks like memorising a sequence of objects or spotting the odd word out while the timer counts down to zero.
To get the most out of Smart As you’ll need to have access to a 3G or WiFi connection and preferably have the game stored on your memory card. The game lends itself well to being played daily as every day you’re given another opportunity to set a new Brain Power score which determines where you’re ranked on the online leaderboards. If you’re a competitive type of person then you’ll undoubtedly want to take on the challenge posed by your friends as well as other players from your neighbourhood, city, country and the rest of the world.
The game does an excellent job of analysing Smart As players’ Brain Power scores and using this data to create highly specific leaderboards. For instance, it’s possible to see which are the ‘cleverest’ cities in your country or the smartest people in your city. You can switch between ‘all-time’ or ‘active’ Brain Power scores to sort through the results by best score achieved or most recent score achieved.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Smart As are the ‘personal profile’ questions that John Cleese – famous British comedian and the game’s narrator – asks you on a daily basis. These include questions such as “do you prefer to bath or shower,” “are you left-handed or right-handed” and “do you prefer to drink tea or coffee.” Your answers are registered on the game’s online database and you can then see how the two groups of players stack up in terms of their Brain Power scores. I found these statistics really fascinating and couldn’t resist sharing a few of the results on Facebook through an on-screen icon. Who knew left-handers performed so much better at Smart As’ challenges than right-handers?
Another interesting aspect of Smart As is the ‘Street Smart’ mode that tasks players with travelling to as many locations as possible with their PS Vitas and performing well in a random set of mini-games to earn stars and climb the mode’s leaderboards. You can take a photo to go along with your score so you’ll always be reminded of where in the world you were when you tackled that particular Street Smart challenge.
Smart As’ presentation is bright, colourful and clean, and the menus are easy to navigate. If you’re unsure how to play a mini-game you can always tap the question mark icon and John Cleese will provide clear instructions on how that particular challenge works. The menus are navigated solely through touch and everything works at it should while loading times are minimal. Loading screens offer helpful hints or provide interesting feedback such as “you are smarter than the average person who prefers drinking tea to coffee.” Unfortunately some of John Cleese’s dialog is not subtitled so deaf gamers are going to lose out on his witty remarks uttered when you finish a mini-game.
Smart As is a wonderful example of what developers can do with the PS Vita’s advanced network features and multiple control inputs. It’s an addictive, well-constructed game that is always encouraging you to improve your position on the game’s leaderboards and broadcast your achievements to your social circles. Performing exceptionally well on a daily Brain Power challenge can have significant ramifications on multiple leaderboards, such as making your city the ‘cleverest’ location in your country and elevating you to top spot on your Near leaderboard. It’s at times like these that Smart As provides a sense of accomplishment and exhilaration that doesn’t come around too often in one’s life, making this game easy to recommend to cerebral PS Vita fans.