The worrisome thought is that I'm not sure this is the first time I've seen a 3D Jeff Foxworthy.
I've always thought that reality TV and game shows have a lot in common, especially when most TV awards shows now lump the two together for their prizes. One of the newer ones out of Fox is Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? with the basic concept centered around that feeling of superiority the viewer felt when somebody couldn't answer one of the easier questions on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (There seems to be a pattern with these shows and interrogative titles.) So obviously, with any property this red-hot, there has to be a licensed game about it, and what better place to put it than the handheld known for expanding minds and definitions?
If you've read many of my reviews, you will remember my working hypothesis as to the indirect correlation between the number of corporate logos before the game starts and the quality of said game. Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? (hereafter referred to as 5th Grader) starts with a cavalcade of copyright legalese and logos. Things aren't looking good already.
The game starts out with a CG Jeff Foxworthy giving you the straight dope on the game. You'll pick a question out of several school subjects, like Astronomy and Mathematics, in the various grades (1st through 5th, which determines difficulty.) The questions can be tough, and sometimes they will humble you in your pre-conceived notions of what you think you know. For example, I asked my brother one of the questions in the game: "Which star is the closest to Earth?" He answered like a smarty-pants know-it-all and said "Alpha Centauri, Duuuuhhhhh~~" Of course, the answer is the Sun, which made him feel crunchy and sheepish. And that's the most fun I had with the game.
If you get stumped, you can ask your classmate assistant for an answer, or you can simply copy the answer from him. If you get a question wrong, your classmate assistant will try to "save" you by hopefully answering correctly. If you lose, you... lose. Game Over. Please start again. The big prize is $1 million of virtual money. The satisfaction of winning the million bucks is somewhat akin to the satisfaction of winning the vacation package in Double Dare for the NES. It'd be nice if it were real.
And that's the game, really. The graphics are mostly text on a blackboard and a few pictures when the questions demand, along with the aforementioned CG Jeff Foxworthy and CG classmates. The sound is nothing but the digitized theme song of the show and some tense ambience that game shows have used ever since "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" hit big. Oh, and Jeff Foxworthy doles out some quips if you suck at trivia. This is basically the extent of the entire game.
Oh yeah! There is one clever thing. The classmate answers are usually accompanied by a doodle from the classmate. I usually saw a turkey or a drumstick (as in the poultry variety) and chuckled to myself as I thought that the classmates must have been starving or the programmers must have made the game entirely over Thanksgiving. But picking it up on December 1st yielded a doodle of a snowflake and a snowman. The calendar-sensitive content is unexpected.
In the course of my reviews, I have frequently felt guilty by not having been able to play the whole game before I sit at a desk and critique it. "Have I left anything out?" I sometimes ask. "Are my complaints and praises going to be understood even if I have not seen every pixel or polygon?" But I can proudly affirm that I have seen every inch of this game. Every nook and cranny. And because there is so little here, it makes it hard to criticize, because I don't necessarily hate the game. I imagine this is how an English teacher feels when he or she gets a paper that consists of one well-written sentence and nothing else. In conclusion, just watch the TV show.