Smarty Pants

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2007-12-19


Developer: EA Los Angeles Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: November 13, 2007 Also On: None

For the launch of Wii, EA supported the system with only two games. They released a hastily produced Need for Speed Carbon port and a well received Madden 07 release, which used Wii motion sensing controls. That was it. No Tiger Woods, no Medal of Honor, not even a Sims game, which they seem to release on everything. Boy how a year and 15 million units sold can change things. We have seen not one but two Medal of Honors, Tiger Woods, and The Sims games get released in 2007 on Wii. Yes, two of each. Those six individual games are more than the multi-platform PS3/Xbox 360 games for the same franchises combined. 6 to 2.

So what is happening? For the first time since I have been writing about video games, EA (and other third parties) are taking Nintendo seriously. We really have not seen this level support for a Nintendo console since the NES and SNES days. A game like Smarty Pants was not even on EA's radar before the Wii took off. A trivia game as a holiday release? Come on, who would come up with such a thing? Well, it turns out that it is actually remarkably fun and great to play with friends, which is what the Wii is all about.

While the characters on the box may look like kids, the questions in Smarty Pants are more adult-oriented. I would best compare this to Trivial Pursuit without the board. You can play with up to four players and select how many rounds you want to play. You have a Wheel of Fortune-like wheel to spin, selecting a category (you use your Wii Remote to spin it), including a space where the player gets to select a category and bonuses such as an increase in difficulty card.

Once the category is chosen, a question is asked. Each person is given the opportunity to answer while a clock runs down how much time you have to ring in. Raising your hand with the Wii Remote is Smarty Pants' way of buzzing in. Once you buzz in, you have about 5 seconds to answer the multiple choice question. While you do this other players can disrupt you with the increase difficulty card, which then takes you to a mini-game where you have to either “heat up” or “cool down” the question. If the challenger wins, a more difficult question is asked. If he loses, the player gets to answer the original question. You can also throw a Switcheroo card, which would change the category if the challenger wins a game of tug-of-war.

In all, there are over 20,000 questions and 8 categories to choose from. The 8 categories are: Art, Books, Entertainment, Fashion, Games, Places & People, Science and Sports. If that doesn't sound like Trivial Pursuit, I don't know what does. Anyway, some of the questions seem over-the-top while others are flat-out easy as hell. I found People & Places and Sports to be particularly easy. A lot of the Fashion and Science questions require some educated guesswork. Basically the categories you like will all depend on what area of study you find yourself in or have an interest in.

The replay value depends heavily on whether you intend to play with friends or not. In fact, I would completely recommend against buying this if you are only going to play with yourself. In this game you want a crowd. The more people you get to play the more involved it becomes, the rivalries will heat up and the outcome becomes a little more uncertain. When two players play, you learn quickly who has an advantage in what categories, and you fight for it, but with three or four players, it can get exciting.

The biggest gripe I have with this game is the price. It really did not take much effort to make a visually and aurally lax game like Smarty Pants. I realize it is not a development-side decision, but the $50 price tag that management put on this game is a bit ridiculous. We are talking about a party game here, not a full-fledged adventure or shooting game. $20 or even $30 would have been more reasonable, and as such, I think you should wait for it to come down in price. That said, if you want hours of fun and safe entertainment that the whole family can enjoy, Smarty Pants is a good buy.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 7.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide

Reviewed by Kyle Bell