Cheating Tom is a platform game where you select an avatar - either Tom or Tammy - and the goal is to graduate each level of grade school without ever learning anything or opening a book yourself. The avatar must get out of their seat and copy off of other students' papers without getting caught by the teacher. This is difficult because the student being copied off of eventually will raise their hand or start crying to get the attention of the teacher. The teacher then scans the room for cheaters. If you are out of your seat when she passes you, your character is busted.
When you are caught cheating you fail and are given the option to repeat that grade until you finally cheat your way through it. There isn't a lot of strategy involved other than to jump from student to student before they get too upset and to keep an eye on the teacher to see if they are awake. There are power ups that pop up from time to time that allow you to be invisible to the teacher. Use those and they really help to complete a level and earn higher grades.
The game works with iPad, iPod and the iPhone and is optimized for iPhone 5. It is free but comes with an excessive amount of video advertisements - the kind where you are forced to watch them for at least a few seconds. This is fine in the beginning but it becomes really annoying the longer you play the game. Occasionally the advertisements will also cause the app to crash. I think the game is a bit too easy for someone like myself to get addicted to. However, if a user has a real penchant for getting away with cheating, they might be tempted to buy a premium version of the Cheating Tom that does not come with advertisements.
The graphics are very high quality. The characters all look like they could be straight out of a high quality animated children's TV show. They are expressive and humorous. When a student cries while you are cheating off of them, a flood of water flows from either side of their face. Some students blow steam out of their ears and don't even bother getting near those kids again in that level because they will go off again immediately. The teacher's suspicious and disapproving looks are adorable as well. All of the student characters have interesting looks - many of them have purple or green hair. There are also stereotypical nerds and cute girls in the class just to add a level of diversity I suppose.
This game makes it seem like getting through school this way would be an easy thing to accomplish because it is not incredibly difficult to get through the entire game quickly. It's probably a good thing that on the app store, the description warns "Don't try this at school." Cheating Tom overall is a really fun game and a great way to pass the time. I recommend it to iPhone and iPad users who love platform games and who always wished they could earn a degree without ever having to use a calculator or memorize the 50 state capitols.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.