The videogame version of “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” deserves a failing grade. Sales may be decent simply because of the enormous popularity of the Fox TV show from uber-producer Mark Burnett, but even a first grader can tell that this interactive quizzer is mediocre on every level.
Graphics are so basic that they could be mistaken for an Amiga game from 1990. Even for a game show, it is inexcusable in this day and age to not take advantage of the latest technology. The classroom setting, elementary school players and Foxworthy are all one-dimensional and there is no attempt at incorporating video into the game, like a clip from the real show.
The only redeeming quality to this disposable game could have been Jeff Foxworthy’s voiceover work, but even he is reduced to a few lame wisecracks that become more annoying than funny after the fourth or fifth play.
Gameplay is clunky at best. Just trying to pan across the classroom with the mouse is a laborious process. When the contest finally begins, players must switch classmates every two questions which is another cumbersome process using the mouse.
Contest mirrors the TV show, with 11 questions from 28 grade-school subjects and levels of difficulty from 1st grade to 5th grade. There are supposedly over 3,000 questions, but after playing the game only a few times questions start repeating. There is also no consistency with the difficulty of the questions. Some 1st grade questions are as hard as 5th grade questions and vice versa. Some seem to be way above any elementary school curriculum.
Publisher THQ is coming out with versions for the DS, Wii, and Playstation 2 in a few months. It had best hope that gossip about the PC version doesn’t spread across the schoolyard first.