Smarter Than You Review
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Smarter Than You Review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on October 3rd, 2014
Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: PURE MIND GAMES
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Psych-out friends and random players in this simple but psychologically complex game from the makers of 10000000.

Developer: EightyEight Games
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1469
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Playtime Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

Smarter Than You is a multiplayer-only game from EightyEight Games, the developer behind the highly regarded 10000000. Although this game is in no way, shape, or form a kind of follow up or iteration on EightyEight Games' original successful release, Smarter Than You is its own simple and brilliant game that almost anyone can pick up and understand immediately.

At its core, Smarter Than You is basically a form of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Players face off and may select one of three options (arrow, attack, counter), with each option having their own trumps and foils. If this was all there was to Smarter Than You, it would be a somewhat strange take on a basic game, but the game goes further than just roshambo. In addition to choosing actions, each player has a set of dialogue options that elevate their ability to mess with the other's head.

Before any round, the player who goes first has to string together a sentence from a list of three words. After each word is chosen, two things happen - first, the game intuits the direction of the sentence and pops up with a list of three more words that would keep the dialogue coherent; secondly, the word chosen affects the damage values of all three actions.

With this system, players have multiple ways of messing with their opponents. They can talk about how they love to choose attack, or how counter is too overpowered, or even about nothing in particular, all in an effort to either adjust damage values accordingly or trick their opponents to overthink their counter. The entire process makes each game/round rich with ways for players to manipulate and exploit each others' thought processes. In other words, it's maniacally fun and satisfying.

Players can also unlock all sorts of things to maintain a sense of progress and persistence. They can earn new colors, more game slots, pieces of flair, and even new words to use. As a free game, players are never prompted to buy anything or watch ads to earn this stuff, either. Instead, at the end of any given round they can choose to "tip" their opponents with unlocks that range from free to $2.99.

The only problem with Smarter Than You is its visual style. As a pretty simple game, it doesn't necessarily need more than the minimalist aesthetic that it has, but that also doesn't mean that a more visually varied experience would go unappreciated. In addition, players earn all sorts of unlocks like flair that can add to the game's visuals, but be warned: once flair is applied to a character, it can only be switched with other pieces of flair rather than be removed. At least, this is the case in the game's current state.

Smarter Than You is a no brainer. It's super simple to pick up and play and is exceedingly fun over many play sessions. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's very well made and there's no barrier to entry, so it's definitely worth checking out.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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