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Smart As...PlayStation Vita review

30 October 2012

Smart As…brings the brain training game training revolution to the PlayStation Vita so you can test just how smart you are, while working your fingers up into a sweat. Produced by XDev Europe, Smart As… takes full advantage of the PS Vita's touchscreens, cameras and Augmented Reality capabilities giving players daily training challenges that engage them in fun arithmetic, logic, language and observation-based puzzles.

Smart As… is a series of mini-games that focuses on exercising different parts of your brain as you attempt to gain the highest score. Whether it’s picking your brain with the constant barrage of subtraction, adding and dividing of numbers in Sum Sequence, to Less Equals More, a challenging that requires you to be as fast as you can with what is more, less or equal to the other numbers. Rapid Recall flings a bunch of items for you to be remember and then identify at the end and for those that prefer some word juggling there are games like Word Wheel, that starts you off easy with small words to progressively more difficult words.

Fancy picking your brain with some logic puzzles, well they are all covered here too. Cube Mania gives you a block puzzle and you have to link the start point to the end point and it will have you spinning around and switching tiles until you complete the challenge. There are many more games that await for you to discover as challenges change daily to keep you on your toes.

          

The game is well presented; graphics are flush with bold colours allowing gamers to easily distinguish between the background and foreground ensuring there’s no confusion in what you’re doing. Simplistic in nature, but very eye-catching the overall presentation grabs your attention and considering the action gets fairly fast-paced, there is no slow-down in the game; everything runs very smoothly and consistently, which helps with some of the puzzles that rely on timing.

The amount of game modes in Smart As… is where this game shines. As you progress, it opens up a whole host of different modes, each more challenging than the last. First off, each day gamers get to test their brain skills with the daily challenge, which gives them a rating based on how well they do with each challenge.

Free play mode is where you will spend most of your time, giving players access to a range of different game challenges in different areas. There are four areas bringing together observation, language, logic and arithmetic to test the mental gymnastics of players. Each area consists of up to five challenges, each with a range of difficulty levels to delve into and test how far your brain cells can take you.

          

There is a neat feature too called "Smart As World" which allows players to see how they fair against the world. Using the functions of the PS Vita, you can use "Street Smart" and "Near" challenges to check who is the smartest. Street Smart gives the players a selection of mini games for that area that tend to be a mix of ones you have tried and some unknown ones, just to keep you guessing. The Near challenges are somewhat different, allowing players to introduce their own custom challenges in order to add a more personalised, competitive feel through a selection of mini games.

Progress in the game however is stunted because you can only unlock one new mini game per day by doing the daily challenges. This can become frustrating because once you have done everything, you can keep trying to improve your score for the world to see or wait for the next day for a new unlock.

One thing that Smart As… does exceptionally well with is the controls. Using the PS Vita's touch capabilities to their full use, they are highly responsive, solid and react as they should to your input. The only downside is the lack of use of the physical buttons on the Vita, which would have been nice to at least have the option.

If the vibrant colours don't grab the players attention at first then the audio and character of the game certainly will. Greeted each time by a very quirky character who will give you a warm welcome to the game, he then tells you all the details of the mini games, including how good or bad you’ve done, and at no point does it become over-bearing.

Smart As… brings to the PlayStation Vita a game that really grabs you by the horns and shakes out the cobwebs in your brain. Taking on simple light challenges at first to then being throttled into games that will really sizzle the brain and have it tinkering away trying to figure out the impossible is challenging and fun.

Looking past the progress system to a game that pits a new challenge against players every day gives you reason to come back for more, while it's quirky nature, vibrant colours and the interesting facts that it flings at you in-between loading screens, should be more than enough to keep fans of brain-burning challenges entertained.

Releasing Friday November 2nd for £19.99, head out, pick it up, brush off those cobwebs and get your thinking caps on.

-The Final Word-

Smart As… will shake out the cobwebs in your brain with a series of challenges designed to get you thinking.
  • Touch screen controls are solid
  • Well presented
  • Good variety of puzzles
  • Unlock system seems to work against you
  • Very little use of the physical buttons
7.5
Platforms reviewed : PlayStation Vita
See PSU's reviews scores on Metacritic and Gamerankings

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