Lasting First Impressions of Smart As…
Developed by XDev Studios | Published by Sony Computer Entertainment
» Remember when the Nintendo DS first hit the market back in 2004 and shortly after a flurry of “Brain Training” games appeared? The top titles were the wonderful Brain Age, and Big Brain Academy. It’s been some time since these games were popular but recently some new titles hit the market that have reignited the genre.
Smart As… for the Sony PS Vita is very much an updated, more modern take on Brain Age. Full of wonderfully silly 3D animation, Smart As… is a daily brain training game much like Brain Age was. It is designed to be visited every day to analyze you based on four categories: Observations, Language, Logic, and Arithmetic. Each of these categories has an assortment of mini games designed to challenge you each day and keep your brain muscle active. Outside of the daily training, all of the 20 available games (once unlocked through daily play) are available for practice and improvement. At the end of your daily training, you receive a percentage score. I’m not entirely sure what exactly the score means, but it seems to be a culmination of how well you did on each of the 4 categories.
Every game in Smart As utilizes the hardware of the PS Vita in very natural ways. All games use the touch screen, whether it is a simple touch the correct answer or writing in a missing letter or number. Some games use the rear touch panel in a challenging game in which you must touch either the front or rear panel as fast as you can as the words appear onscreen. Other games utilize the PS Vita’s six-axis controls as you tilt the device to move objects on the screen. Every game in Smart As… is quite fun but challenging. I find the Logic games the most fun but I do the worst with them because it requires me to solve the puzzle in as little time as possible. I can solve math and language problems instantly, but when it comes to logic, I like to take my time in solving them.
Smart As… is advertised as the “Socially Connected Brain Game.” After you have taken your daily test, you can compare yourself to your friends and to the world. Any other Smart As players who have uploaded their results to the PlayStation Network will be compared to you on a city, national, continental or world basis. Think you’re smarter than those in your city? Well, now you can prove it. In fact, you can even prove it if you travel with your PS Vita and partake in the daily City Challenges. Each city has a daily challenge that you can compete in and see how you stack up to other Smart As players in that city. Facebook and Twitter connectivity add another level to comparing yourself with your friends around the world. Of course, for this to have any meaning, you and your friends would have to be playing the game too. I’m not sure if this is a game that everyone you know would be playing as these style games really are for a niche market.
Ultimately, Smart As does what it’s designed to do and does it well. It is humorous, fun and definitely something that is worth visiting, even for a few minutes, each day and watching as your score improves. The narrator is the same quirky gentlemen who narrates the Little Big Planet games and he is always a joy to listen to. I may not have a great deal of friends playing the game, but it’s still a fun challenge every day (or every couple days as is the case right now) and see how well I’m doing. Your brain is a muscle, after all, and daily training of this muscle is just as important as any other. Now I just need to get my 73% score higher!
XDev, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.