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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Review: Smart As (Vita)

Recently, my father's doctor told him to start doing some brain games as part of his recovery from stroke. I remember playing Smart As for a bit and that it fell into that category, so while visiting him, I let him have my Vita and play it. I had set up a Wii for him in his house prior to this, but the problem with a home console is that the effort for an older person to learn to turn it on, switch HDMI inputs, etc. was just too much. The Vita has a touch screen, and most of the games don't require any thing more complicated than touching the front or back touch pads on the device.

Well, Bowen saw the game, and immediately took to it, and now refers to Smart As as the "drawing letters game." Basically, he starts the game, switches to the language module, and then starts the spelling game! Since he hasn't actually learnt to spell, I'd tell him each letter as he needs it, and he'll draw the character. It's very cute, since every time we get to a letter that he can't draw, he'll shake his head and I'll pick up his finger and draw it for him. He's learnt how to draw a few more letters this way, with me guiding him.

The games are split into four categories: language, math, observation, and logic. Each mini game comes in multiple difficulty levels, and while the easy levels truly are easy (though some of the logic puzzles at easy difficulty are plenty hard!) as you work your way up the difficulty levels you end up
at incredibly fiendish levels, including words that I have trouble with!

The game has a "daily training" functionality, which basically tests a random game from each category and then comes up with a bogus "brain meter". It's fun, but the problem is that it's used to unlock various games in the other free play modes, so you're pretty much forced to wait before all the games get unlocked.

There's also a "street smarts" area where local (to your area) challenges are played and you can visit different places to get different challenges. I didn't explore this too much, but in my limited play the biggest problem is that the loading time is exceedingly long.

Regardless, if you have a Vita and a kid, this is one of those games you probably wouldn't mind seeing your kid play lots of. Recommended.

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