by Erik Johnsen
The classic board game that tests your knowledge of random and sometimes obscure bits of information has moved forward; now appearing on your television courtesy of the Wii. Like they did before with Monopoly, EA has brought Trivial Pursuit into your living rooms and onto your TV.
Trivial Pursuit features three modes of play. Classic, Facts & Friends, and Clear the Board. Six types of questions: Sliders, True of False, Multiple Choice, Images and Maps (one multiple choice style and a pin placement.)
You’re tested in six categories total: Geography, Entertainment, History, Art & Literature, Science & Nature, and Sports & Leisure. Also, the Wii version came with a “Movie Pack” included in the release that alters the questions in all categories to be centered around cinema.
During the gameplay, the playing piece you use does a few different animations when moving from one space to another, these are moderately amusing at first but then become repetitive quickly because there are only about five different animations.
When you play, as in the board game, you roll a single dice and move the number of spaces, starting from the middle, you have rolled. The game uses the Wii motion control to spin the die display, or you can push A once to start the spin and again to stop. This is about the only way the game can and does use the motion capabilities of the Wii.
Other small annoyances of the game include the on screen text is really small and hard to read on a big TV, so I can’t imagine what it would look like on a smaller one. The game announcer is often lost in the music and sound effects of the game, but this might actually be a small blessing as he is fairly unfunny and really repetitive. The Maps multiple choice questions (like in Geography) only show dots on the map without giving you the actual location which could have been done in a way such as when you hover over it.
Trivial Pursuit’s two new play modes, Facts & Friends and Clear the Board are pretty creative. In Clear the Board, the single player mode, you work on completing the board in the fastest time possible while accumulating as many points as you can. The wedge spaces have multipliers that increase as you answer questions around the board. If you answer a wedge piece spot correctly, your multipliers for that spot are added to the middle of the board. If you miss the wedge question, the multiplier decreases by one per missed question. When you complete the wedge space, all of the remaining spaces for that category disappear and the board shrinks, getting smaller as you progress. This is a good mode for a solo player.
Facts & Friends is very similar to Clear the Board, but you play with/against other players to acquire wedges that act as ‘lifelines’ in the final showdown. Four points in a category earns that wedge. Facts and Friends lets you build portions of a wedge by answering questions in each category, as well as guessing how well your opponents will answer. You can choose if your friend does or does not know the answer to the question. It also gives you the option to choose “I know” if you think they’ll be wrong and you know the answer, if they miss and you get it correct, your points are doubled. Guessing correctly builds points toward completing a wedge. The Facts and Friends mode also has “Bonus Events” in place of the “Roll Again” spots where you can race against time to answer a question correctly, attempt to steal an opponent’s wedge, or double the points a correct answer will give you, among others. At the end of the game, once all of the wedges have been distributed, they serve as ‘lifelines’ in the final showdown, so gathering as many wedges as possible gives you better chance to win. If you miss a question one of your lifelines disappears. Last one left wins.
The Classic mode is just the same as the board game. Players move around the board answering questions when they land on a space, trying to fill their playing piece with all of the wedges and getting back to the middle to answer one last question to win. When you get a question correct, you go again. A major drawback for this is that when one player gets on a hot streak answering questions correctly in a run, the other player can get quite bored.
When you’re playing, a stats ticker rolls across the bottom of the screen. While the text is also quite small, it contains a lot of interesting facts about how a player is doing during that game, and how well a player is answering questions in specific categories, providing a little additional fun/strategy for everyone involved.
Trivial Pursuit is a fun game for friendly get-togethers for those who don’t like to break out the board games and keep track of the dozens of little pieces. The game does start to put out repetitive questions a little too soon, and the announcer is pretty annoying, when you can hear him, but the game is good fun for trivia buffs.
The Married Gamers’ Report Card: B-