How old is a 5th grader? 10? 11? Something like that, right? This isn’t the only time being British put me at a disadvantage when playing Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? You’ll see why a little further down.
In case it wasn’t glaringly obvious, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? is a Nintendo Switch quiz game based on the American quiz show of the same name. After conducting some research on the television show, you’ll be unsurprised to find out that Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? the video game follows the exact format as the show that it shares its name.
The key difference between the video game and the television show is that you can opt to take on the quiz show solo or against up to seven other friends/family via couch co-op. Oh, and the hosts are different. You’ll have a super annoying rotation of two hosts, Teddy and Claudia. Thankfully there is a skip option most of the time they are yammering on.
Across the two modes, there are over 6800 questions and a variety of topics based on school subjects, ranging from measurements and mathematics to life sciences and vocabulary. Getting a question wrong in the solo mode, Exam, will end your run, highlighting that you are not smarter than a 5th grader. However, the co-op mode instead allows you to run through all questions, and not only will you see if you are smarter than a 5th grader but smarter than your friends and family, too. If you are ever stumped, you can always cheat. With the cheat option, you have three choices to make. They are ‘ask the class’, where you ask the group of students their thoughts on what they believe the answer to be. ‘Copy’ is where you copy your current student’s answer in Exam mode, or one of your opponents in co-op mode. The final choice is to pick a new question, where in Exam mode, there will be a new question altogether, and in co-op, only you will receive a new question.
As you play through Are You Smarter than a 5th Grade? you receive points based on your correct questions; these points are used to unlock new things for you to make your time with the game more interesting and diverse. These unlockables range from new students to help you in the main game and special outfits for each student based on their specialist subject. You can also unlock cosmetics for your own desk and, most importantly, new subjects to test you. These are nice touches and add a desire to dive back in again, especially when you receive a new subject to try out.
The personalisation of your own desk is also quite cool. You can edit the border of your desk, a bobblehead, the material of your desk, and create your title. These titles are built out with two pre-made lists of words. Some combinations you can make include ‘Sports Goth’, ‘Botanical Mother’, and ‘Free-Range Egg’! What’s more is that no matter what combination of words you choose, you will hear both Teddy and Claudia audibly say this as you play through the game. In fact, all dialogue is voice acted, including every student having their own voice and quirks. Whilst there are subtitles, some subjects like Spelling need this audio as you don’t want the subtitles giving the answer away!
Given that every part of Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? is voice acted, there is a lot of chatter in between questions. If you want the full game show experience, lay your controller down and enjoy the show. If you’re here for the trivia alone, you are able to skip almost all areas of dialogue – which is very, very handy. Without this, each playthrough would have been excruciatingly long. Especially as each new game opens with Teddy running through the rules and how to play every single time. There are also backdrop changes depending on the subject you choose, which at first are charming, do become tiresome, and these cannot be skipped.
Aside from the slower pacing, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? is a fun time with people. I found the single-player mode a little boring, and I was spamming the skip button each time. However, when playing with friends and family, it’s a great time! Being able to outsmart your fiancée or discovering that they aren’t 100% how many weeks there are in a year is pretty hilarious!
It is important to note that Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? is wholly based on the American television show, meaning that the subjects and questions are those that American 5th graders should know. I found myself a little stuck when the Social Science subject came up. Being British, I had no clue that Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life! But I do now.
Unfortunately, during my time with Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? was not as smooth as I had hoped. Yes, I have proven that I am in fact smarter than a 5th grader many times. However, a handful of attempts were interrupted by the software crashing and force closing the game on my Nintendo Switch. This happened at least once, each time during my sessions with the video game. At the time of writing, I am still experiencing this and have reached out to THQ Nordic via multiple platforms with no response yet. I hope there is a patch coming shortly after release, as these crashes hugely impacted my experience.
Review: Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? (Nintendo Switch)
Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? is exactly what you expect it to be – a carbon copy of the television show it is based on. With that, you get a simple and not particularly challenging trivia game that is accessible to the whole family. Sadly, it’s let down by the slow pacing, annoying character hosts, and performance issues mentioned. Hopefully, the latter can be sorted sooner rather than later!