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Review: Smart As - PS Vita

01 Nov 2012

Nintendo proved that brain training video games are popular since its series of brain exercise games sold millions of copies when released a few years ago for the original Nintendo DS console.

They proved to be so popular, that even people over the age of 60 could be seen playing them.

Sony has developed its own brain training game introducing “Smart As” for the PlayStation Vita.

Smart As expands and improves upon Nintendo’s video games mainly thanks to the PS Vita’s touch screen controls and better graphics.

The game starts off introducing the player to the game’s controls and mechanics. The game is excellently narrated by respected British actor John Cleese as he explains to you what the controls are for each exercise you have to complete.

The main part of the game is testing out your daily “brain power”. There are four areas that will test you awareness and they include your Observation, Logic, Arithmetic and Language skills. Different mini games are presented to you from each area to test out how smart you are on each day.

The first day I tried the game I wasn’t very good. My Arithmetic (maths) skills have deteriorated after I left school which left me with a brain power of 54% for that day...

The exercises you have to complete are plentiful and once you finish doing your daily brain challenge, you can head on over to the mini-games section to challenge yourself even more.

Thanks to the PS Vita’s controls, completing the challenges becomes a fun experience as the gyroscope and touch screen controls adds new ways for you to test your brain.

One of the “Logic” games you have to do is to tilt the PS Vita console in order for two balls to lock into their respective holes.

Navigating the balls through the maze is easier said than done because you have to make sure that both balls fall into place at the exact same time. Another favourite game of mine is one of the “Language” games.

It’s a game where you have to spell out a word from the letters that are positioned on a wheel. It can be hard at times, but its fun nonetheless.

Some of the “Arithmetic” and “Observation” games are giving me a brain headache though. Some of the maths problems are easy but as you further progress to the harder difficulties, things get really crazy.

One of them sees you needing to do a series of calculations and writing down the answer at the end of it. If you somehow get a calculation wrong, you are screwed for the rest of the sequence.

The “Observation” games usually test your memory skills. One of them makes you have to memorise a lot of random objects and you have to recall everything you’ve just seen. If you watched the old game show called “The Generation Game” you may know what I’m talking about.

All is not perfect in “Smart As” though because sometimes the game fails to recognise my handwriting skills. Sometimes you have to draw on the PS Vita itself to write a letter or number.

Several times the game thought I wrote the numeral “7” instead of a “1”. This was quite annoying because I got several math problems wrong because of this.

Another similar problem is with writing letters. Some games have a time limit and I tend to write too quickly. As a result of this, the game fails to recognise that I wrote the letter “O” and it comes as a “Q”!

As great as the narration is from John Cleese, the spelling bee exercise has an English woman speaking out the words to you and her accent is pretty hard to listen to.

Even though you can hit a speaker to allow her to say the word again, her accent is still too thick for my taste.

It would have been better if you could choose an accent to use for this mini-game. I will never forgive her for the way she pronounced “homage” to me...

You can also check your progress and compare your brain power with the rest of the world. My “Language” brain power proved to faring well against the rest of the world.

My “Arithmetic” skills are where I am sorely lacking on at the moment. Maybe if I play this game daily my maths skills might return?

Anyway, Smart As is a fun little game for the PS Vita that will test how “smart” you are on a daily basis. It might be an even more fun game to play if you’re drunk to see how your brain deteriorates while you’re drinking alcohol.

In either case, whether you are sober or not, Smart As is a great game for those that want to test out their brain power. Although there are some flaws, they’re not big enough to deter the overall gameplay.

Graphics: 8.5Gameplay: 7.5Sound: 7.0Lasting appeal: 8.0

Overall: 7.5