Games based on quiz-shows aren’t exactly new, but they aren’t as common as you’d expect. We have some of the obvious choices make their way over to the Switch, but one I never expected to get made was Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? (or 10 year old for Brits) – however, the format actually works rather well in videogame format.
More or less.
Many thanks to HandyGames for the review code.
For those unfamiliar with the format, it’s relatively simple: over the course of eleven increasingly difficult questions, you’ll face off against up to seven (!) opponents to gain as many points as possible.
Things start off easy, with questions aimed at something a five year old would be taught. Sure, most of them will be extremely easy, but these aren’t worth many points either. As you gradually work your way up, things get increasingly more challenging, but the points on offer rise too. The final question is the hardest of them all and equivalent to an eleven year old’s knowledge, but the points earned from this one question can easily be the deciding factor in determining who is the winner.
In order to help players with trickier questions, you also have access to three cheats that you can use at any time: you can copy a student’s answer, you can get the entire class to vote on the answer, or you can swap the question for something else entirely (within that current topic, of course).
It all goes at a rather fast pace, although things are broken up quite frequently with dialogue from the two hosts and the array of students. It’s cute the first time, but as they tend to say basically the same things every time I just ended up skipping them all after a couple of games. Unfortunately there’s no option to autoskip these scenes, so you’ll need to be prepared to press and hold the A button a lot.
It’s a decent enough system, but it’s also not without its issues. The majority of questions consist of three possible answers in addition to the cheat button, and it feels a little bit too restricted. The lack of possible answers makes it very easy to hazard a guess when you’re not sure. This is made even worse by most of the questions being extremely easy for the most part, even if there are some that truly test your knowledge.
To make matters worse, on the flip side there are questions where you are given too much choice. Any question that requires a country as an answer requires you to put a specific point on a map. Fine in theory, but also assumes you know exactly where the country you want actually is. So many times I knew what the answer was, but my mark was a little bit off – earning me absolutely nothing. It would be nice if multiple choice questions had a fourth option (thus using all four buttons), and perhaps the country questions allocated points based on how close you were to the right answer rather than requiring you to be spot on.
What the game does have is a great unlock system: after every game, points earned will go towards unlocking new aesthetics, new students, or new categories of questions. It’s extremely rewarding and you’ll probably unlock something every game or two. Unfortunately, this system combined with the small number of questions on offer means that you’ll end up coming across repeated questions a lot. Even after only a few games, we were encountering questions we had only a game or two before – which is a big problem for games like this. As you unlock new topics, you’ll then start selecting that one quite frequently for variety – but that also means you’ll also blast through most of them pretty quickly too.
What makes the lack of questions even more frustrating is that the game launched with paid DLC that contains more questions. €9.99 DLC for something that should have already been included in the already pricey €29.99 game in order to make it feel more like a complete experience.
Those looking for a fun quiz game should enjoy Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?, even if the lack of difficulty and questions ruin the overall quality. It’s absolutely not worth the asking price, but I’d certainly keep your eyes open for a sale so you can add it to your list of party game at some point in the future.