The idea and concept of a B-movie is not something that is particularly prevalent in cinema anymore – you’ll find they are now called straight-to-DVD movies. In the good old days though you’d find a double feature; you went to the pictures and there was another low-budget shorter film showing before the main event. These were mostly sci-fiction or westerns films, but with half the budget and bad acting. Look out for films like Plan 9 from Outer Space as a good reference.
What RiffTrax: The Game has done is capture just over 250 clips from these types of films and has allowed you to choose the dialogue to accompany it, resulting in hilarity. Are you ready to become a screenwriter?
Party games are a great bit of fun, but sometimes I wonder how long that fun can last. I’ve tried many games in this genre, giving them a turn in the sun for a night or two; yet after the hangover ends, they never get to shine again. Hopefully, RiffTrax will change how I play my party games now.
But what does RiffTrax mean? It’s a term used when a group of seasoned writers perform improvised funny lines on old movies, looking for hilarious results. You have two choices to begin the game with – to play with pre-written riffs from over 2000 written responses compiled by the professionals. Or you can choose a model when you write your own riff over the tracks.
How the game works is that you get a small clip of film that plays from a collection of B-movies, education films, and all sorts of strange films from times gone by. You then get a choice of riffs to add to the scene, with things replayed with a robotic voice reading the selected riff out like the film has been dubbed.
The key here is to find people to play with. You can play on your own by linking up with another controller or just logging in on another device through their website. But playing on your own soon becomes a bit dull as you have no one else to share the joke with and you feel like Billy no mates, laughing in the corner on your own. The best way to play this game is to get a big selection of people together (up to six with twelve audience members watching) and let the laughter begin.
Writing your own Riff is where you can do exactly that, yet trying to keep it clean is the hardest part of that job. But it all works great as you run through up to five rounds; something which should take you about fifteen minutes or so to complete. There is also a countdown in each round which gives you a time limit to choose your selection or write your Riff. Players then get to vote on their favourite line, with the winner being crowned round champion.
The selection of videos you get to watch and comment are a lot of fun and the selection is excellent. It’s worth noting that some of them are hilarious in their own right and don’t even need a RiffTrax underneath them. Also, it takes a while before you start to notice the same clips coming back on repeat, but even then it’s something that rarely frustrates as you get the opportunity to create or select another RiffTrax for the clip. The presentation is solid with some nice clean menus powering things along. Using another device to play is easy, as each game has simple code to enter on the website.
RiffTrax: The Game is one to bring out in the holiday season with the family, or after a night out drinking with friends – something which will make the whole experience even more hilarious. Personally I’ve preferred to run the ‘write your own riffs’ route, rather than the pre-written options and I think the countdown limit helps with some great automatic quips. It’s obviously not a game to take in alone, and perhaps after a while the whole novelty will begin to wane, but for the price of a cheap bottle of wine, this will certainly provide less of a hangover.
RiffTrax: The Game is available on the Xbox Store