Monday, September 20, 2010

App O' The Mornin': Trivial Pursuit Review

I’ve been pretty pleased with most of the big boardgame adaptations coming from EA. In fact, it’s gotten a little monotonous. I love to kick a big-ticket title around now and then. It makes for a more interesting review.
I was hoping Trivial Pursuit would provide an opportunity for a little bag work, but it didn’t comply. It turned out to be a perfectly fine, feature-rich version of the mother of all trivia games.

Trivial Pursuit just keeps coming back, age upon age. Hasbro recently sent me two new editions: the new Master Edition and Bet You Know It, which adds a bidding element. I’ve put in my TP time (wait, that sounds wrong…) and every new edition seems to include way too many questions about some hit song I’ve never heard of from some pop diva I’ve never heard of. (I remember playing a 1980s edition once, and every other answer seemed to be either “co ndoms” or “Michael Dukakis.” Actually, that pretty well sums up the 1980s.)

The Trivial Pursuit app actually works dang well. The gameboard is simple roll-the-dice-move-your-mice stuff. Questions are answered via multiple choice, with an option for limited or unlimited answer time.Wedges ensue.

Single Player mode let’s you just move around the board answering questions all by your lonesome, or add an AI opponent. Yes, there’s only one opponent. At least I couldn't find a way to turn on more opponents. Since Trivial Pursuit is largely about the questions and not the competition, I didn’t have a big problem with only one AI opponent. Who wants to sit around waiting for 4 imaginary people to figure out what Britney Spears’ 2001 hit was. (No, I have no idea if Britney Spears even had a 2001 hit.)

The new addition is "Pursuit Mode," which offers a game board with a beginning and end. The goal is to make it to the end while missing as few questions as possible. This seems like a larval idea for another, better game. They got the basic premise correct by stealing a page from Mario Party's book: landing on certain tiles triggers special effects that can double your rolls or move you to another part of the board. It's a good idea, but something more interesting and colorful could have been done with it. As long as you're creating a TP Mario Party, go all the way and have some TP minigames or powerups.

Multipayer is perfectly fine via pass-and-play or Wi-Fi, but some internet matching service would have been welcome.

I like that new question sets are available as an in-game purchase for only 99 cents. I never play straight up TP any more, but with the right group I’m still willing to bust out a special edition focused on insanely obscure questions about, say, Lord of the Rings. This is because I know who Ghân-buri-Ghân is, and like any opportunity to lord this useless knowledge over people with actual lives. We take our pleasures where we find them.


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