Rob Lowe. Trivia questions. A giant robotic arm named Ava. It may sound like a recipe for a weird new nightmare, but it’s actually just a list of the main components of FOX’s game show Mental Samurai. The premise is simple (if rather odd): Contestants must answer questions while being tossed about in the aforementioned robotic arm.
The questions cover everything from pop culture to geography to visual puzzles, but the real challenge seems to be keeping yourself calm enough to focus on the answers after flying through the air in front of Rob Lowe and a studio audience. So, has anyone won Mental Samurai? Read on to find out.
Has anyone won ‘Mental Samurai’?
Although the show has only been on for one season (so far), there have already been several winners. And it’s a good thing, too — nobody wants to watch a show where no one ever wins, right? A quick scroll through the official Mental Samurai Twitter account reveals a few posts congratulating winners, like this one:
How much money can you win on ‘Mental Samurai’?
While it’s no Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Mental Samurai does offer a pretty sizable cash prize to its winners (especially considering the game only lasts about for about seven minutes per contestant). If contestants complete the Towers of Samurai round by answering 12 questions within five minutes, they’re guaranteed at least $10,000.
They then move on to the Circle of Samurai. In that round, they have 90 seconds (plus any time leftover from the Towers of Samurai round) to answer four more questions. The first correct answer brings their total up to $25,000, then each answer after that adds another $25,000 to the pot. That means the maximum cash prize for each contestant is $100,000 — not too bad for a few minutes of work/being jostled by a robot!
The show took winning to a new level with its finale episode. The top winners from every episode in the season (even those who didn’t win the top prize) competed in a tournament to win even more money and be crowned the Grand Champion. Season 1’s big winner was Heather Hurley, a librarian from Arlington, Va. She took home $250,000 (and bragging rights, obviously).
There’s gonna be a new season of ‘Mental Samurai’...eventually
Back in February, Deadline reported that FOX would be renewing Mental Samurai for a second season. It was originally slated to premiere on Wednesday, April 22. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the new season has been postponed. In the meantime, FOX is running reruns of the first season Wednesdays at 9/8c. You can also check out the official Mental Samurai Instagram page for fun puzzles and brainteasers to tide you over.
We’re definitely looking forward to the new season, though — whenever it finally arrives. It’s time to get a new group of winners in the hot seat. Or, the twirling robot seat, as it were.