Do you have friends and family that stare at a modern gamepad in horror? The sort of family that would use a console exclusively as a Blu-ray player (while complaining that the interface is too complex), and friends that last played a videogame sometime back in the NES-era because they were forced to? They may be culturally obsolete, but now you have a chance at drawing them back into the fold.
Knowledge is Power is a quiz-type game that anyone who’s watched TV or accessed the internet in the last decade should get to grips with easily. It offers a game-show presentation, complete with cutesy visuals and an annoying presenter, luring you in with a sense of familiarity before expanding the complexity of interactions. These additions make sure your ability to remain competitive is not just restricted to your general knowledge.
Each round lets you pick between four categories and the game seems to refine your options based on previous choices.
With the game installed on the PlayStation 4, two to six players can download the free app for Android or Apple mobile devices (so long as the OS is fairly recent), and connect to the console if your devices are connected to the same local Wi-Fi network (or you can establish a PS4 hotspot). I used my home Wi-Fi and had no issues over several hours, ignoring one early disconnect. It’s fast and simple to set up, your guests can use their own devices, and the controls are simple. Very few people don’t own a smartphone so they'll have no excuses not to join in.
After creating a profile for each payer - complete with a selfie superimposed with an avatar picture - you’ll be tasked with tackling 11 stages of trivia questions, interspersed with mini-games, aiming to get the best score before the finale. After selecting a category – of which videogames felt strangely underrepresented – you’ll tackle a string of quiz questions, with the 4th and 8th round providing mini-games that task you with linking related images or sorting objects with frantic screen swipes.
"Double Trouble" was a great choice for this question. Slow them down and potentially knock out the vowels they're looking for.
Someone who dominates a category can still find themselves undone thanks to the power plays awarded to each player for some rounds. These typically impact how long it takes for a player to answer, which also ties into your score. You can ice over their answers and force them to repeatedly tap the screen to break through, cover each answer with slime and force them to wipe it away, send out “nibblers” to remove a few letters from each answer, or drop bombs they need to avoid when tapping the screen. Later on, more powerful variants combine these effects and can make it a real challenge.
After 11 rounds, scores are tallied and these dictate your starting position on the pyramid in the final round. At this point, each player is bombarded by questions, from a myriad off categories, and they need to get it correct as quickly as possible to advance towards the apex. As you can brute force these questions, it triggers a frantic scene with players wildly tapping their mobile device. Power plays also pop up occasionally during the ascent so there’s still opportunities to obstruct the leader.
Finding myself on the receiving end of the "Freeze" power play.
Although the bulk of the action takes place on your mobile device, the presentation on the TV goes a long way to keeping everyone entertained. Knowledge is Power features some great animation and environments as your avatars scramble around the screen selecting categories, charging around between the available answers, or participating in mini-games. When casting power plays, you’ll see avatars splattered with ice and gloop, or swamped by nibblers. It’s cute enough to entertain just about all ages. If there’s one downside, the formula gets old fairly quickly and you’ll be focussing more on the questions and power plays than the presentation before long.
As an added bonus, the free app for your mobile device includes a simplified 5-round hot-seat quiz, allowing you to pass around a device and engage in short rounds of questions from random categories, with the all the power plays intact, and the victor based on who could answer the question fastest in each round. You can even snap a selfie for a victory screen at the end and can (but shouldn’t) upload it to social media.
Victory in the app-only mini-quiz. Science always wins!
Overall, Knowledge is Power is a great way to get people playing more local co-op. The game is a quarter the price of a full retail title and the use of mobile devices, rather than expensive extra controllers, makes it easier to get everyone involved. The conventional quiz structure is enhanced thanks to the power plays, mini-games and the pyramid climb finale, with the presentation on your TV adding considerable flair to proceedings. The format gets repetitive quickly but it remains a entertaining game, with thousands of trivia questions, that you can pull out now and again when you’re hosting friends and family.
Enjoys games with awesome stories and characters, along with new and interesting hardware. Dislikes day-one patches and driver updates.
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Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe
22 November 2017
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