• Paul Fingleton

Knowledge is Power (PS4 PlayLink): Review

Puts the "Show" into Quiz Show, but does it put the "Play" into PlayLink?


When it comes to 'party games', the surefire winning formula is to have a quiz show-type game. Pitting friends, colleagues and family against each other in a quickfire battle of intellect or at least knowing more than someone else. Sure enough, along with the launch of PlayLink for PS4 comes Knowledge is Power - a party quiz show game where you can battle your general knowledge skills against your family and friends to show who knows most.



PlayLink for PS4 is Sony's foray into party or social gaming on PS4. Before you roll your eyes and think of Facebook or Social networking games, these are different. Check out our overall review of the service for more details. These games are for social gatherings - your family or house parties, that sort of thing.


The first thing you do is download the Knowledge is Power app for Android or iOS and launch the game on your PS4. As long as the two are on the same network, they'll pair up and allow you to play. Each player will have to have a phone or tablet to play, up to a maximum of six players.


After selecting from a selection of wacky characters, animated in an almost stop-motion or Aardman-style, the game kicks off in earnest presenting you with four topics for the question and you have to choose between you which topic it will be. The one that most people voted for is chosen, unless it is a draw and then a random selection of the chosen topics occurs.


The topics appear to be related so the choice of topic may also influence subsequent questions, so a chosen first round question on Pop Music might lead to a selection of second-round topics on 80's Pop, Kylie Minogue Songs, Finish the Lyrics, etc. If you had chosen History in the first round, the second round would relate to that.


Questions are multiple-choice and displayed on your mobile device, players select your choice using the touchscreen. It's fastest finger first - the player who answered correctly, quickest will get the most points.


After clearing the hurdle of the first question, this is where the competition can heat up. Not only is it about general knowledge but also about hobbling your opposition. Every team gets a Power Play each round - essentially a way to interfere with the other players touchscreens. Sometimes letters will be missing; answers might be covered in ice that needs to be broken before pressing the answer; gloop might need to be wiped off before answering; bouncy bombs might get in your way, or a combination of the above.


Strategic use of Power Plays can help get you from the back of the pack into a contender position. The effects also stack on top of each other, so the poor front-runner might end up with all sorts on their screen.


Every three rounds the format takes a little change and becomes a quickfire sorting or pairing game - Spice Girls song titles vs Girls Aloud song titles; Connect the movie title, etc.


After completing the first part of the quiz, the game becomes about completing the Pyramid of Knowledge. The points you scored earlier will give you a headstart or advanced starting position. The quicker you correctly answer Pyramid questions the further up the Pyramid you'll jump - each level will grant you a different Power Play and adds an extra strategy to playing this endgame section.


The winner is the first to reach the top of the Pyramid of Knowledge and as a reward they receive an interesting fact or tidbit of information that is displayed only on their mobile. If they want to share it or keep it to themselves is up to them, but does serve as a nice little personal reward for their efforts.

The game has a nice, bright cartoony style. Characters are well animated and hurry or run to your chosen answers, bumping into each other in the rush. The gloop Power Play always manages to get a little snigger each time.


But, there is a very limited variation on the animations for each character or for the Quiz Masters voiceovers. There are only so many times that you will see the Hot Dogs unskippable hip thrust or hear the Quizmaster try to build tension for who picked the right answer before you start to realise that about half of the time that you are playing the game, you are not actually doing anything.


The Quizmaster, in particular, tends to break up the flow of the game and the game would benefit from having more fast-paced question action than building out the TV Quiz show aspect.


Summary

Knowledge is Power is a good quiz game, there is fun to be had and with the full six players the Power Play can really affect the outcome in funny ways.


Questions are varied and cover a wide array of topics, but you will only notice this after multiple games. The branching questions might make a game feel limited as there are few doors that can drastically change the theme or topics for questions once you have committed to them.


The questions don't come thick and fast enough, or the quickfire rounds aren't enough to liven up the rounds. A nice touch is that the Knowledge is Power app can be used to play a quick quiz by passing the phone between teams - five questions and Power Plays can be used. This allows you to use the app without a PS4 and get a feel for the game.


Overall, it is a solid quiz game that could have been a great quiz game with a few tweaks.



We Liked

  • Cartoony Graphics, nice animation, great quizshow style

  • Varied questions and topics

  • App can be used without PS4 for a quick quiz

  • Power Plays - stacking these on the outright leader can make or break friendships.


We Didn't Like

  • Unskippable animations and Quizmaster voice over break up the flow of the game

  • Not enough time asking and answering questions. More rapid fire questions would keep the tempo going.

  • Limited animations and witty quips will grow old quickly

  • Quizes might feel limited because of how the subsequent round is related to the previous round.

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