Topping the Free iPad charts this week is Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.   Based on the popular game show, this app promises hours of fun while testing your elementary school memory.  The premise is simple; you are asked a series of questions from a variety of topics that span grades 1 through 5.  Of course the questions are painfully simple, though you will need to search the smallest crevices of your memory to find the answers. 

In order to actually play a game, you must have enough stars.  Each game will cost 25 stars and you will gain a new star every 6 minutes.  Otherwise, you can buy more stars to play sooner.  100 stars is $0.99, 550 stars is $4.99, 1,200 stars is $9.99, 3,000 stars is $19.99, and 10,000 stars is $39.99.  Free stars are available if you complete certain tasks ranging from checking your availability of Fios to signing up for Credit Cards.  The game is fun, but I’m not sure I am willing to ruin my credit for another round of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.

This game is also enabled for social networks.  This means playing with friends is easy and accessible simply by connecting the game to your Facebook account.

The gameplay is very similar to that of the gameshot on television, with a few minor differences.  To start, you will be given to a choice to buy “Copies.”  These will allow you to take another player’s answer, should you not know it yourself.  After making your selections to buy Copies for 5 stars each (max of 2), a screen of topics with related dollar values will be shown.  The music is identical or almost identical to the television gameshow.

The first difference you will notice is that instead of playing with a 5th grader, you are playing with others who are also trying to answer the question.  Not only this, but they are trying to answer faster than you.  You can choose to copy, but peeking is removed altogether from the game.

The scoring works by valuing each question with a certain dollar amount, then multiplying it by the number of participants who answered incorrectly.  The fasted correct answer gets an additional $1000 for good measure.  At the end of the 8 rounds of different topics, the player with the highest total can play the 5th Grade Bonus Question for free – doubling the total score if answered correctly.

While the app is fun to play and free to download, there are a few drawbacks.  It’s obvious there was a lot of effort put in to making money from the app – either directly through stars, or indirectly through advertising and obtaining stars through sponsorships.  Also, the app quite often asks to post to Facebook in order to gain more points.  I understand developers are in the business to make a buck, but it’s still a bit painful when its blatantly obvious.  Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader should stick a little closer to the television show roots and at least make an attempt to hide the money making techniques in some way.  On the lower side of the scale of top game apps, I give a rating of 6/10.