Smart As: Time to tease brain

A double whammy here: first look at this fun little game, and first experience of the PlayStation Vita.

 

Smart As

From: Sony

For: PS Vita

Three stars (out of five)

 

The new handheld device has been on the market for a while and has taken a while to find its feet, possibly because most casual gamers now find their entertainment on tablets and smartphones.

The Vita is a sort of combination of a traditional handheld gaming device and the aforementioned tablets/phones.

It's got a touch screen, for a start, and little game/app bubbles that kick into gear upon being touched.

The back of the device has a ''touch pad'' that can also be used interactively.

Twin control sticks are a welcome introduction, the screen is a fair size, the sound quality is surprisingly good, and the device is nice and light.

The question, I suppose, is whether the Vita packs enough oomph as a multimedia system, or whether it can accumulate a wide enough library of games to make it a compelling purchase.

Speaking of games - which come as downloads, not hard disks - Smart As is a take on the wildly successful ''brain training'' games on the DS.

It entails a series of (increasingly difficult) challenges, in mathematics and vocabulary and problem-solving and logic. Your success, or lack of success, determines your ''brain score'', and the idea is you come back tomorrow and try to be sharper.

John Cleese narrates, and the game is springing with colour and life. Will it actually make you smarter? The jury's out, but it can certainly keep one's brain occupied.