Review: Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?


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Jul 5, 2008
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Trivia is fun. And I am on a question to find the best trivia game on the iPhone. Today I try "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" based on the game show of the same name.

The premise of this game is the same as the game show - you try to answer questions of varying difficulty to win prize money (except, of course, the money isn't real). The questions are considered typical knowledge that kids would learn in grades 1 through 5. At each grade level, you can choose one of two subjects (subjects include things like Math, Spelling, World History, US Geography, Science, etc) resulting in a total of 10 questions. Each question is presented with three or four possible answers. Get the answer correct and you can advance to the next round. Get it wrong, and you are told that are are not smarter than a 5th grader.

Along the way you can have some help. You are presented with 5 students to help you out. Each student has a couple areas they are "experts" at, and they also vary in age (all supposed to be 5th graders). You can choose a student to help for two questions as long you you have your hints available (more on that later). After the two questions, you mut choose a new student assistant.

Along the way you have three cheats available to you. These are "peek", "copy", and "save". Peek means you get to look at your helpers answer. Copy means you copy their answer (without looking at it first). And save means that if you answer incorrectly and the student has the correct answer, he/she will "save" you (automatically). Each cheat can be used once. As long as those cheats remain, you can continue to choose a student to help you. If you use up all three cheats, you no longer get to choose a student to help.

So that's the game. But I chose this for a trivia game, not just trying to see if I am smarter than a 5th grader. So how does it stack up?

Well, in terms of the question difficulty, it varies. The low level questions (1st, 2nd, and even some 3rd grader questions) are usually pretty simpler. Actually, scratch that. They are usually blindingly simple. Things like "Who wrote 'Through the Looking Glass'?" or "The two directions that are important to know when studying the equator are..." When you get to the 4th and 5th grade questions, they are a little more difficult. Often time the difficulty isn't really obscure trivia, but simply the knowing the minutia of any given subject. Technically this may be trivia, but it just feels different to me. Trivia is supposed to be pointless, "trivial" knowledge. Knowing which group of people Cortes defeated is something that we learned in 5th grade (and for more of us, probably never used again). And some of the questions don't really qualify even as trivia - solving math problems, spelling questions, etc.

The game play itself is straight forward and easy to understand. Due to the fact there are only ten questions that are being asked, the games are over very quickly. Obviously since it is based on the TV gameshow, they aren't going to change the format, but because there are so few questions, the game is over very quickly, leaving you wanting more.

It would be nice if they varied the student helpers. The same five students are present each time. I don't knowhow often they answer correctly or incorrectly, so I can say how much of a help they really are. I do know that the few times I used them, they did have the correct answers. It would also be nice if they had a multiplayer version (either on the same phone, or wirelessly) which could add to the fun.

Pros: Good import of the TV gameshow, easy to pick up
Cons: Games are over very quickly, not a real "trivia" game

All in all, if you want to play TV game show on your iPhone, this is a solid import of it. While you can't win the money you do on the game show, you can see how well you remember information that you learned so long ago. However, if you are looking for a trivia game, this app leaves you somewhat wanting something more. The price isn't bad, it's only $1.99, but don't buy it if what you really want is a solid trivia game. Three and a half out of five stars.
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