For as long as there is gaming, there will be a place for the party game.
That is never more true than with this generation of console, as the family board game hits a decline and we instead see gatherings focused around a TV screen and controller – or at least mobile phone. If you can play it, if your kids can play it and if your nan can play it, then chances are it’s a good option to have.
With the Jackbox Party Packs storming ahead in the console party scene, and numerous indie developers rocking up with quick local hitters to keep the masses entertained, you may well think that there isn’t room for another party spectacular to thrive. But when you have a rich history of fun-bringers in your team’s history – Buzz! anyone? – then chances are the game in question will be something promising.
And that’s exactly what It’s Quiz Time is. Promising. But it’s not utterly brilliant. Unfortunately.
Snap Finger Click are relative newbies on the gaming block, but with ex-Buzz! employees making up the majority of their team, it must be said that they will know a thing or two about what makes a good quiz game. After all, when we talk of console quizzers, Buzz! is pretty much the first, and last, word on the matter.
On the face of it, they’ve done a sterling job with It’s Quiz Time too. It comes with fast, exciting gameplay that never really sees anyone given the chance to take a back seat, and it has questions galore – 29000+ at time of writing. It also thrusts fancy visuals, some strong audio and a likeable android host into proceedings, all of which knit the game together in a rather unique and clever way.
Salli – the host in question – is likeable enough to ensure you will sit and pay attention to what she has to say, with personality, consideration and humour among her biggest draws. She’s also more than happy to pick fun on those who are struggling, whilst bigging up the professional quizzers in order to keep the motivation high. It’s great that by entering your name, age and gender on the mobile phone app that acts as your controller, Salli will be able to greet you in a unique way every time you, and your friends, play.
She’s also great at bringing the numerous mini-games that make up the vast majority of It’s Quiz Time together, seeing a decent flow between them and allowing for extra time should any player find, or need, a disconnect.
As for the games in hand, with nearly 30,000 questions, you can be sure of something new nearly every time you play. A general starter round always kicks off the gameplay and allows those who haven’t had time with Salli previously the opportunity to understand how things are meant to work. With no time limits in place, and simple multiple choice questions to answer, it’s a great way of easing players in.
Obviously the name of the game is to come out the other end of the multiple game types as the player with the highest score. It is only by doing so will you ever earn bragging rights over your friends and family. It is also the main draw of any quiz game. With a decent range of options available, all allowing for good general knowledge, guesstimations, pairing opportunities, showdowns, fastest finger rounds and more, there is a nice amount of variety found in every single game of It’s Quiz Time. But no matter how good or bad you do in any of the rounds, it does always seem that the finale – the big deal breaker that sees major points won and lost – becomes the real game decider, occasionally making everything before it seem a little pointless and not worthwhile.
The addition of specialist subjects allow for further point scoring opportunities across the board, and at some point in time each player will need to make a decision to what that is. It could in fact be the difference between winning or losing at It’s Quiz Time, so being given the chance to utilise knowledge of a specific subject is generally a good one.
A standard game will consist of a random selection of mini-games, with the starter round kicking things off and the big finish deciding the winner. This will normally take something in the region of 20-25 minutes depending on the number of players, and how swift any answering is made. If you’re looking for a faster experience though, then the custom game option will let you choose your own style from the 11 game types available. It’s a great way of allowing quick five minute match ups at times of boredom.
There is also a solo mode that sees Salli dropping no less than 30 questions your way, leaving you to answer them as quickly as possible, earning points and placing on worldwide leaderboards in the process. This initially seems like a tacked on extra that has been put in place just to appease those loners out there – but the fast paced nature of it brings a new quiz draw all of itself. It’s well worth a look.
Aside from that, the option to broadcast via Kinect and the feature rich 2017 special round that is currently available, the biggest draw of It’s Quiz Time though is quite obviously in the multiplayer arena. It is where the game really gets to shine, allowing players of all ages the chance to prove their worth. With a mobile phone to hand, and a limit of 8 players getting involved at the same time, it pretty much does what a quiz title should, and needs to, do.
But there are issues.
Firstly, the whole premise of It’s Quiz Time is that all you need is a copy of the game, a TV, and a mobile phone. Standard gaming controllers can, for the most part, be ditched, with players participating via the online iOS or Android app. Installation of this is a breeze (although the usual Apple issues seemed to see those players always behind Team Android), but there are the odd occasions when the connection between game and app fails. Should you struggle to connect via WIFI, then it is possible to play via 3/4G, but this isn’t particularly ideal as younger players seem to depend on a WIFI connection more than a standard phone data connection. In fact, my first few games of It’s Quiz Time saw issues with players connecting via WIFI, instead leaving them to rely on the 4G connection of their phones. That’s not ideal when data allowances are a precious commodity.
Further to this, a poor signal can hugely interrupt the flow of the game, especially in the latter stages when fast fingers are required. There have been times when Salli has been happily rolling forward to new questions when certain players have been stuck without earlier ones ever popping up on their screens. Again, this seems to affect those on iOS over Android. Take from that what you will, but yes, I am a fan of the little green guy.
Aside from any connection problems, and should you be placed in a super stable game, then there aren’t really any big issues and It’s Quiz Time comes across as a fairly fun time. I say fairly as Salli certainly begins to grate once you’ve heard her robotic tones multiple times, and a repetition in lack of question variety will hit those players who spend a decent amount of time quizzing. This doesn’t mean you’ll find the same questions in a hurry – after many games I’ve still to come across any exact replicas – but I now seem to know everything and anything about The Devil Wears Prada and the exact career of every Lotus F1 driver from the last decade. A bit more variety would go down lovely.
At the end of the day, It’s Quiz Time isn’t a game you’ll be playing every single day for the next year. It’s been made for a purpose – filling time during those holiday gatherings when you’re stuck in the same room with family. And it fulfils that purpose brilliantly. The single player addition is a nice touch, and the overall production values are high. It’s a shame that a slightly poor internet connection can affect things so massively, but as long as the team at Snap Finger Click continue to push question variety – with a Season Pass option already in place to soon open – then it should continue to hold dear to a quizzers heart for many a year.