Smarty Pants Hands-On

We get into a friendly game of wits in EA's fast-paced quiz game for the Wii.

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Since it was first shown at the 2007 E3 Media & Business Summit, Smarty Pants has made a few significant advances, not the least of which include the previously aforementioned title, as well as Mii integration. The profiles of players, which will carry some granular information about your performance, are bound to different Miis, and though their implementation in the version of the game that we saw was somewhat plain, it was nice to see a third-party game for the Wii with prominent support for those oddly endearing avatars.

What we experienced once the game got going was a fast-paced trivia game with a little physicality thrown in for good measure. The games we played were in the family mode, which is actually a cooperative mode. While the shared score gave it a kind of everybody-wins vibe, particularly proficient players still got shout-outs at the end of the game. The focus was primarily on the trivia, which was all over the place in terms of both topic and difficulty, ranging from 19th-century artists to the cast of Mario Party. EA stated during E3 that the game would include 20,000 questions, and today we've been told that each region that the game is released in will get its own set of region-specific questions.

Players were picked seemingly at random to answer multiple-choice questions. A timer meant there was constantly pressure, which certainly ratcheted up the pace of the game, though it also ended up contributing to the volume of blind guesses. The other players could try to slow down the clock by furiously shaking their Wii Remotes when cued by the game. There were also some shaky minigames that would come up a few times per game, where players could add time to the countdown by basically just shaking the remote as hard and fast as possible. The basic physical focus of these interludes was a sharp contrast to some of the challenging questions we saw.

The promise of a really solid trivia game on the Wii, along with another game in which you can trot out your Mii, makes Smarty Pants a potentially winning and inclusive holiday release.

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