Game Show Trivia – “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” Exam

Let’s go back to the foggy days or once. You know, 2007. Jeff Foxworthy hosted a game show called “Are You Smarter Than a 5e Grader’ and people were discovering that they legitimately had no memory of the things they had learned (or hadn’t learned) in elementary school. The show ran for seven seasons on various networks until it last ended in 2019 hosted by John Cena on Nickelodeon. As you might have guessed, ‘Are you smarter than a 5e Grader?’ is back in video game form from Handy Games and publisher THQ Nordic. The game takes the format of the TV show and converts it into a replayable trivia video game, much like a shorter version of Jeopardy with thousands of questions. Instead of live guests, these are computer-generated guests, but the game features full voice work for all participants.

If you’re not familiar with ‘Are You Smarter Than a 5e Grader?’ is a show where you answer trivial questions starting with 1st Score and progress to the final question, a 6e first year. Along the way, real elementary students helped contestants answer questions, and they had several opportunities to cheat or ask for help. The game follows exactly the same format, although the students are of course made up. You can copy a student’s work, ask the class, or get a new question. The mechanics change slightly for multiplayer, but it’s essentially the same there.

To start, you choose a character that you will be for the duration of the game. These are titles rather than actual names, which is more than a little weird. Being called “Older Brother” for an entire game is certainly off-putting in single-player mode. Once you have chosen your character and your office, you move on to the first year. There are two hosts and both are intensely bubbly and pleasant, almost sweet. They talk at length about the game, the students who will help you, the rules, etc. They switch places every two questions, and luckily the developers thought to include a skip button for dialogue. You will need it.

During each question, a student is also available, so if you need to cheat asking for help, you can. Most of the first few questions are pretty easy, so if you’re an adult you’ll probably only use them later, but they’re there, literally chatting and encouraging you. Answer a question correctly, you move on to the next round. Between rounds, the hosts will talk to the school children. Yes really. The hosts actually ask what they like and what facts they know and the kids respond. Sore.

While it’s important to preserve the vibe of a game show, it’s honestly a bit too much. You can also ignore it, but that should have a disable slot in the options menu. The dialogue is tedious and excruciating with digital children talking about themselves to digital hosts in some kind of weird parody of a game show. It just seems out of place to have so much idle chatter in your game, even if it adds flavor to an otherwise short quiz.

Eventually you will be eliminated or win at ‘Are You Smarter Than a 5e Grader’. Either way, you end up with a bunch of points that slowly unlock more students, desks, names, and other items that you can use in the game. ‘There is here. An endless loop of 6800 trivial questions that slowly unlocks the game little by little. You’ll earn a few unlocks at first, but the last ones are hundreds of thousands of points and honestly, who’s going to do that?

In-game multiplayer is essentially the same, but you compete locally with up to 8 players. It’s a little more fun and a little less tedious overall but not wildly entertaining. The simple fact is that the overall gameplay of the game is so lackluster that even playing with others doesn’t make it any better. The questions are weird and sometimes too difficult, the focus on American perspectives is weird (the game literally asks if you want American perspectives), and the constant set and host changes seem to take forever. . There is no need for all that. There is no need for two hosts. It is not necessary to let fake children wander around. It’s a lousy moment of the worst kind, especially when you just want to play a trivia game.

Visually, ‘Are you smarter than a 5e Grader’ is no longer attractive. The characters are strange, feverish people whose uncanny positivity gives them an almost cult-like fervor. The kids are cherubic, talkative, and irritating, and while you can change their costumes, what do you really care about? Sets that appear fine move around, but they add both time and load time and the game just isn’t that compelling to begin with. The music from the game show is certainly nothing to talk about either, and the incessant clapping (yes, yes, it’s a game show) is remarkably irritating.

To put it bluntly, ‘Are you smarter than a 5e Grader?’ is not fun. It’s poorly imagined, chillingly paced, and just not that enjoyable. It’s no surprise that the game show was canned three times after fairly short runs, and the video game version was even worse. It’s as if all the fun has been washed out of this title and it’s devoid of any redeeming quality. Sure, some of the questions are good, but not all of them. For example, who knows that the Dewey Decimal System has classifications for fiction? Have you ever seen fiction classified under this title in a library? I did not think. Or here’s a map of all 50 states, where Ruby Bridges went to school? Choose a state (no names, just outlines).

And what are all the unlockables for? Does anyone care what clothes the kids wear? Or what does their office look like? Sure, it’s nice to unlock new categories, but that’s about it. It’s no use, and unlocking weird new titles for hosts to call you is definitely not appealing. It’s fair to admit that being called “Annoying Unit” for the whole game is probably fun.

‘Are you smarter than a 5e Grader?’ simply fails to engage players at every opportunity and after a few games you pretty much skip the entire game and start to get irritable. At $30, it’s not a game that’s going to generate much interest for many gamers and even those are likely to skip the $10 DLC which adds more questions. At 6800 questions and 11 questions per game (if you don’t lose), you’re looking at a minimum of over 600 games to even pass all the questions and basically no one will play that many times. ‘Are you smarter than a 5e Grader?’ is a title that if you’re smarter, you’ll probably skip.

This review was based on a digital copy of ‘Are You Smarter Than a 5e Grader’ provided by the publisher. It was played on a Nintendo Switch in both docked and undocked modes and played equally well in both. ‘Are you smarter than a 5e Grader’ is also available on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X and PC on Steam.

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