ThinkSmart: Family!

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
ThinkSmart: Family! Game Poster Image
Some fun brain games, some control problems.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The messages behind ThinkSmart are all about becoming a well-rounded, knowledgeable, healthy person.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dr. Ashoka, the game's emcee/instructor, provides encouragement and moral support in addition to rules on how to play.

Ease of Play

It's a mixed bag. The different mini-games range widely in terms of challenge factor. The controls on most of them are perfectly fine. However, the controls don't work at all for the physical exercise portion of the game.

Violence
Sex

The female instructor wears tight workout clothing.

Language

One exercise shows players quotes from famous historical and literary figures, some of which include words like "hell" and "damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The one exercise that uses literary quotes contains some quotes with references to alcoholic beverages.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while ThinkSmart: Family! is intended for the whole family, kids younger than nine or so are probably not up to the challenge. Whether you're a kid or an adult, you'll be getting the same exact questions and exercises, and many of these are brainteaser-type puzzles that can easily stump grown-ups. Also, be aware that the Wii remotes have an incredibly difficult time registering your correct movments in the physical workout portion of the game.

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What's it about?

THINKSMART: FAMILY! sends you (or technically, your avatar) to a spa-like retreat, where the comely Dr. Ashoka tests you with brainteaser puzzles and logic quizzes. The exercises are of a similar type to those found in edutainment games like Brain Age and Big Brain Academy. Dr. Ashoka will also work as your personal trainer, leading you through a physical workout as well. Multiple players can join in to compete against one another in team-based brain games.

Is it any good?

Some of the mental workout games of ThinkSmart: Family! are fun and interesting. Others are not (simply adding digits together or spelling a word you've just seen don't hold much of a thrill). It's a very mixed bag, especially when playing solo. When playing in teams, the head-to-head competitive aspect makes the whole experience a lot more fun. The game didn't need a physical workout component, and the developers really shouldn't have included one -- because it doesn't work. You're supposed to hold the Wii-mote in  your hands while you do sit-ups, arm bends, etc. But the game will always tell you you're doing it wrong, no matter what.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different types of questions and puzzles in the game. What are the lessons you can get from each? What skills do you think they help you develop? How can  you use those skills in real life?

  • You can create your own avatar for this game. Why did you create one that looks the way it does? Do you want your avatar to resemble you?

Game details

For kids who love thinking games

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