Trivial Pursuit

No-one likes a smart arse.
 – Anonymous

…except in a pub quiz.
 – Tony Chandler

Trivial Pursuit, as you may have guessed from the name, is a video game version of the popular board game that I’m  sure you’ve all played at home. Probably at Christmas, with your family, while secretly wishing you were at your own place playing Call of Duty 4.

Trivial Pursuit offers up three modes of play, one single player and two multiplayer. The single player mode, or Billy No-Mates mode as I call it, is called “Clear the board”. It tasks you with clearing a board full of questions as quickly as possible, whilst also scoring as highly as you can. It plays fine, but as there are no online leaderboards for bragging rights, it really is solely for those people who have no friends at all, and I doubt that many of these people would have bought a friends and family oriented game like Trivial Pursuit in the first place.

The first multiplayer mode is Classic mode, which plays exactly like the, erm, classic board game. True to the board game, if you’re a bit thick like me and my partner, it can take a long time to finish a game. We made the mistake of starting a game at 11pm and didn’t finish playing until 1am. The game plays out exactly the same as the board game, but with a few important differences. The biggest one is that all of the questions are now multiple choice, which makes it a lot easier than the card based table top variety. Secondly, some answers are represented by pictures or maps, which adds a colourful element to the game, but caused problems for my partner who, for example, knew that the answer was Brazil but couldn’t find it on a map of South America

The board is well rendered, and the graphics are actually quite impressive, especially considering I was playing the Wii version. There are lots of nice touches, like when you roll the dice and move your piece, sometimes it bobs along, sometimes it buzzes around like a Potter-esque snitch, and sometimes it flies like a classic 50’s flying saucer. My only niggle with the graphics in this game was that they’ve very clearly taken the shiny HD graphics of the PS3 and 360 versions, and downscaled them for the Wii. We were playing on a 42″ LCD TV using the out-of-the-box video cable for the Wii, and found ourselves leaning forward to be able to read the questions clearly as the text was a tiny bit small and unclear.

Sound in the game is limited to the odd sound FX for a correct answer, a bit of quiet background music and the voiceover man. Ah, the voiceover man. Have you ever played Buzz on the Playstation and found the Jason Donavan voiced Buzz a tiny bit irritating? Take that, multiply it by a hundred and then you’re close to how annoying the voiceover man is. He has far too few things to say, leading to repetition, but that’s not the entire problem. Most of the things he says weren’t even funny the first time, yet alone the forty-first time. The best thing I can say about the voiceover man is that his volume can be turned down to zero in the Options menu. Phew.

Although most of the questions were fine, for a while, we were shaking our heads in disbelief at some of the questions we were getting for different categories. For example, a question in the “Sport & Leisure” category asked us which 1980 golfing film Bill Murray and Chevy Chase appeared in. It was a fair question, but one that to me landed solely in “Entertainment” and not “Sports & Leisure”. It turns out that the game comes with two sets of questions, a regular set and a Movies set. I’d selected “All Questions” by default at the start of the game, and thus we were getting a baffling mix of the two. If I were you, I’d select just one category or the other as it avoids a lot of confusion.

Classic mode is the heart of this game, and it works well. It’s worth noting that even if you were to pay the full RRP for this game it would still be a bit cheaper than buying the actual board game.

Facts & Friends is the other multiplayer mode, which is a far quicker and shorter mode of playing, but unfortunately it can be a bit confusing. In this mode, you only have one playing piece, and everyone takes it turn to roll the dice and move the piece around. In this mode you can win wedges by answering a couple of normal questions, as well by landing on the wedge squares. There is also a slightly odd aspect where you can can win or lose points by betting on whether or not the player who is answering the question will get it right or wrong. In practice it just slowed the game down as it asked you to bet, and we were only playing two player. It would be quite irritating to have had to have watched three other players betting on my success before the question even came up. Once all the wedges are won, the game moves on to an endgame mode, where your wedges now become lives, and each wrong answer loses you a life. The last man standing wins.

The problem with this mode is that all the players have to answer the same questions, so the normal method of using the pointer to select the answer is out, and the game resorts to badly assigning Wii buttons to answers allowing you to covertly answer. We spent more time looking for the right button to press than we did coming up with the answer we wanted.







Leave a Reply