October 9, 2019 at 1:52 AM #846
Knowledge is Power
Rating: 2.5 – Playable
I love trivia games. As someone that consumes every bit of pop culture that I can get my hands on, trivia is one of the few things I’m good at, but sadly there are too few trivia video games out there. That’s why I was somewhat excited to play Knowledge is Power, which is yet another "smart link" game from PlayStation that allows players to use their smartphone as a controller. The game functions as a competent trivia game, sure, but it has one major flaw that makes it hard to recommend.
Knowledge is Power’s problem is that it tries to be too gimmicky and it ends up ruining the best part of the game, answering trivia questions and competing against friends, by forcing these gimmicks on players. There are powerups that players can use on their opponents each round that make answering questions harder. This could include making it so players have to tap through an ice block before selecting the answer or wiping away green goo on the screen. While this is amusing at first, the meat of the game is trivia, and the fun comes from outsmarting your opponent with your trivia knowledge, not bogging them down with powerups.
Now, the powerups wouldn’t be that big of a deal if they could be turned off. But from what I could tell, they are permanently active. This is a shame, as Knowledge is Power functions fairly well as a straight trivia game, with varied and interesting trivia questions. Unfortunately, the powerups just slow the game down way too much and do absolutely nothing to make it more entertaining.
Something else that slows down the game is the narrator. The narrator repeats himself every time you play, and so it can make repeat plays boring. The narrator also lacks the charm of the narrators from similar games, like The Jackbox Party Pack, so he’s not even really all that entertaining.
These unfortunate design choices aside, Knowledge is Power does do a couple of clever things with its smartphone controller. Players have to snap pictures of themselves and the losers of the game, and have the option of uploading these goofy pictures to Facebook. Players are also able to take pictures of themselves before games and put their faces on the bodies of a few different characters they can choose from. The game also allows players to play a "quick" version of it on the go where you pass one phone back and forth, but it would have been nice if each player could use their own phone. This mode is fun, but like the main game, it is also bogged down by powerups that seem impossible to turn off.
All Knowledge is Power has to do is one simple thing: make powerups optional. If the powerups were optional, the game would be infinitely more entertaining and I would be less hesitant to suggest it as a party game.
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