Question: does Droid Trivia have any connection to droids or robots, outside of choosing them for your character? Answer: No.
We can only guess that Retribution Games was developing a robot beat ’em-up before it got canned, and wondered what to do with its character models. “Let’s shove them into an incredibly conventional quiz game”, someone said from the back. So they did, probably.
Droid Trivia is the most vanilla quiz game you could possibly encounter. It makes Mastermind look like Takeshi’s Castle. You and up to three others (CPU bots are available if you want to play alone) choose a robot character from a small roster (sunglasses robot is our spirit animal). Then you have three choices: do you play a four round game, an eight round game, or do you just freestyle by picking from the four different types of round?
Let’s pick an eight round game. The camera swoops into a generic industrial background, and the round’s game type is announced. There are four in Droid Trivia, but they’re so similar that you could argue that there are only two. There’s True or False?, which we won’t patronise you by explaining. There’s Multiple Choice, which, again, is a bit Ronseal: you have four options to choose from, each mapped to A, B, X or Y. Picture Multiple Choice is the same, but with a picture to jazz up proceedings, and there’s Memory Game, which is a multiple choice but the answers are removed before the question appears, so you have to remember where the right answer was located. So, three multiple choice rounds, and one True or False. Inventive.
They are simple and timeless enough to work well. The only caveat is Memory Game, which always puffed a little groan out of us when it came up. Sitting there, repeating phrases like “Elephant, Monkey, Ostrich, Rhino’, over and over, as we waited for the answers to disappear and the question to finally appear, wasn’t our brand of fun. Memorising phone numbers has never been fun, so a mode dedicated to something like it missed the mark.
Players get to vote on their choice of category for the round. These are sensible stuff like Music, Natural World, Food and Drink and others. But Droid Trivia is clearly an American game, as American Geography and American History pop up frequently. Curiously, the other categories and their questions don’t feel overly biased to the US of A – they are well edited and feel country-agnostic – but the fact that these two take up valuable category slots might limit you (unless you’re American, or fancy a pop at some of their questions).
The questions themselves are pretty good, if a shade boring. We never questioned the veracity of the answers; we even learned a few things. They’re pitched well for reasonably well educated adults to have a good time (we got roughly three-quarters right each round, which is a completely unhelpful metric). They’re just a little unimaginative, lacking in wit or intrigue, opting for general knowledge in the given subject, rather than anything creative like anagrams, riddles or the like. Which might be your cup of tea: just don’t expect to be surprised by anything here.
If Droid Trivia has a fault, it’s the speed of proceedings. For each round, you start with a standings screen, then the camera swoops into a bland environment, then the round is announced – voiced, so you have to wait for the gent to finish – before the categories are picked. Then each question is voiced too, with a chunky gap between it being read and the answers becoming available. Now, multiply this for four questions in a round, and up to eight rounds, and you have a plod.
The lack of speed gets to you eventually. You know what each round entails, so you don’t need it introduced. But there’s no option to remove this spiel. And the three-second wait for the answers to become active is grating. We were in a group of a few of us, and you could see us all mashing the answer button as we impatiently waited for the countdown to start. We wanted to play Droid Trivia on at least 1.5x speed.
Talking of desperately-needed options, the CPU could do with a brain upgrade. It’s perfectly possible to win by waiting for the CPU’s answers and deliberately picking the answer that they didn’t. They are so wilfully, painfully bad that they will dodge the right answer so you can win. So, swoop in and pick the only one they don’t pick, if that sounds like fun.
The CPU also take yonks to pick their answers. Whoever thought that was a good idea can be sold off to Jawas. Sure, it might make a one-player match feel like you’re believably playing with humans, but when the AI waits until the last second of a 20-second timer to pick its choice, you start questioning the I of ‘AI’.
Droid Trivia is a perfectly serviceable quiz game. It has questions, those questions are clear and correct, and up to four players can answer them. If you’ve gathered friends round a Trivial Pursuit board before, it might be enough to satisfy.
Call us greedy, but we want more than that. A game called ‘Droid Trivia’ could and should be capitalising on its theme, but robots are nothing more than dressing. The game modes barely differ from each other, and the questions are dry and delivered slowly, as if Droid Trivia’s batteries are slowly running out. Sure, we were playing Droid Trivia, but we were daydreaming about Jackbox Party Pack instead.
You can buy Droid Trivia from the Xbox Store