Smart As preview

One of the surprise hits of the DS was Brain Age, a collection of mini-games intended to test someone's mental capabilities. Somehow, Nintendo had managed to make the idea of playing a math game exciting to gamers and non-gamers alike. Countless clones have come since then, and although none have managed to recreate the runaway success as the original Brain Age, that hasn't stopped publishers from trying. Smart As is Sony's latest attempt, this time for the Vita. It's exactly what you'd expect out of a brain training game--one designed to take advantage of the Vita's dual touch panels and 3G connectivity. In addition to a too-clever-for-its-own-good title, Smart As includes twenty different mini-games across four different categories: Logic, Arithmetic, Language, and Observation. You can play the daily challenge, which throws a sequence of random games from each category. You'll be scored on your overall brain health by the end, of course.

Can you guess the right letter?

Unfortunately, the overly-sterile art style and inherently simple nature of the games invite comparison to Welcome Park, an app that's preloaded (and free) on every Vita. One game has you tapping the front or rear panel based on on-screen prompts, which makes it feel like a system tutorial more than a game meant to expand your mental capabilities. Smart As would probably work best as a free-to-play game, like Treasures of Montezuma Blitz. However, Sony is positioning the title as a full retail game--not just a PSN download. Given the simplicity of the experience, this is definitely not a title that will help Vita fly off store shelves.
Watch the Shacknews E3 2012 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. This preview is based on a hands-on demo shown at a pre-E3 event.