Are there any quiz shows that aren't hosted by Noel Edmonds? He's like the TV presenter equivalent of Judy Dench in period dramas. I've nothing against neatly trimmed beards, but he doesn't necessarily bring credibility to a concept - and that's probably where Are Hou Smarter than a 10 Year Old? is lacking.
The truth is, this game is a set up designed to provide a successful underdog story. After all, a game where, each week, a college professor stands in front of Noel Edmonds and mercilessly pans a bunch of kids using his academic knowledge wouldn't remain entertaining for long. We watch because we want to see people bested by the little guy, in the same way that we watch You've Been Framed because we want to see show-offs hurting themselves.
On TV, this can work quite well (in a voyeuristic, unfeeling kind of way) but virtual 10-year olds don't provide quite the same sport - especially considering you're now in the position of the pompous old duffer who everyone wants to fail. You begin by selecting from five well-dressed school kids (a significant graphical improvement over the previous mobile adaptation); each with his own areas of expertise and weakness.
This 10-year old then provides scholastic support on the round of questions, should you need it, which begins at £1000 and works its way up to a grand prize of £250,000. Questions are chosen from a list of ten multiple choice options, varying both in subject and degree of difficulty. These subjects are typically from school curricula, which is pretty much where the 'smarter than a 10-year old' premise hinges.
If you find yourself floundering in the mud of forgotten academic knowledge, you can approach your young associate and ask for his help. You can choose to 'peek' at his answer, and make your own decision whether to follow it or not, or you can 'copy'; in which case you must use the youngling's answer. He can also 'save' you by answering a question right after you've mucked it up, so choosing carefully can have its advantages.
On a pointless tangent, I was surprised just then to discover 'youngling' is an actual word (I was silently quoting Yoda), which possibly explains why I failed repeatedly on the English language questions.
Anyway, it seems a little harsh that it only takes one wrong answer to end the game, though this is presumably something left over from the TV game show. Either way, the abrupt and unceremonious ending coupled with the lack of any other game modes makes 2nd Series a fairly uneventful affair. The other inherent problem here is that you're not actually up against 10-year olds - you're up against your handset's CPU and the programming talents of Capcom, so the entire premise seems to crumble quite quickly.
As a basic trivia game, stripped of the nonsensical principle, it's actually not too bad. It's not unlike answering questions from the Highway Code - you know you can drive, and that you once passed the test, but you'll be buggered if you know what any of the road signs mean or what the rules for a box junction are any more.
Being judged by this game's standards, I'm not smarter than a 10-year old, but as a trivia test to fill the hours before your next pub quiz, the range of realistic questions is pretty good. Just wait until Are You a Better Kickboxer than a 10-Year? old comes out - I reckon I'll come into my element there.