Sunday, November 25, 2007

Review: Trivia game "Scene It!" is fun for all ages

I have only one gripe before I start my review - why can't I use "Scene It!" controllers with "Mass Effect?!"

The trivia game, developed by Screenlife Games and WXP and published by Microsoft Game Studios, is one of the first party games available for the Xbox 360. "Scene It!" contains four big buttoned controllers, called "Big Button Pads," in green, blue, gold and red. The game also includes an infrared receiver, which plugs into the 360's USB ports. Even though the controllers are wireless, a big plus, there's really no fuss when connecting the controllers to the 360. Sweet.

The controllers *can* work with the 360 dashboard blades, but you can't navigate around much. Bummer ...

The game (there's a free demo on Xbox Live) tests your movie trivia knowledge. The game features single and local multiplayer modes. You can select "Play Now," which allows gamers to play Short Play or Long Play modes. The Short Play mode gives gamers to play through different puzzle types in random order. Each round in Short Play consists of three puzzle types. In Long Play mode, gamers will be faced with five puzzle types instead of three puzzle types in Short Play.

The local multiplayer mode is called "Party Play." This mode allows up to four players to battle each other on movie trivia. There's no online multiplayer mode, which would have made "Scene It!" one of the best party games on ANY system. Though local multiplayer is fun, battling folks on Live is where this title would really, really shine.

The way "Scene It!" works is when a question is shown onscreen, you use your controller and buzz in (there's a huge honkin' button that you can't miss)2 - and hit the correct answer button - there are four "Select Answer" buttons - to submit your response. The faster you do it, the more points you amass. If you don't answer before time expires, or you answer incorrectly, you don't get any points. You are encouraged to answer all of the questions. You don't lose points if you answer incorrectly in Party Play, but you can lose them in Play Now modes.

The range of trivia in "Scene It!" is insane! You will be amazed at how many different categories this game contains. You will be tested in the following areas:

Anagrams: Unscramble movie titles
Child's Play: Figure out the movie titles from a childlike drawing
Credit Roll: Guess which movies credits are rolling past ...
Distorted Reality: Guess which actor/actress or movie as an image slow forms
Invisibles: Guess the movie title by looking at a photo or movie scene where the actors have been erased
Montages: Watch a montage of footage and guess the movie
Movie Clip: View a short movie clip and answer questions about it
Now Playing: Guess the correct movie as the poster gradually assembles
Pictograms: Figure out the movie title, actor or actress by putting together clues from pictures you view
Pop Culture: Answer five questions
Props: Guess the movie by looking at a picture of a prop from the film
Quotables: Fill in the blank to complete famous movie phrases
Rising Stars: Name the actor or actress shown in photographs
Sequentials: Four movies are shown, and you have to put them in order of release
Sketches: Guess the movie title as a sketch gradually appears
Songs, Slogans, and Sayings: Guess the movie associated with onscreen clues
Soundclips: Listen to a clip and guess the movie title
Star Trailers: Buzz in when you see enough clues to guess the actor or character
Take 3: Guess the movie, character or actor from three clues
Visual Puzzlers: Look at four photos and guess the title
What's Missing?: Guess what's been removed from movie stills

While this game would be cool on one player, having 3 to 4 people playing "Scene It!" is what this game is made for. My 4-year-old son played with me and my wife, and even though he was pressing the A button and buzzing in, he had a blast. He even recognized several clips and sound bites from movies.

What I find to be amazing is how much I don't know about movies. The game will really humble you on your movie knowledge.

The graphics are cartoons, and passable. The sounds in the Party Play mode are ok, but the announcer's whiny voice is rather annoying.

If you own a 360 and have A. roommates that love party games, B. several parties and C. love movie trivia, you need to get this game.

Lights ... camera ... action!

Why should I care: "Scene It!" offers G-rated family fun on the 360, suitable for all ages

The good: So much trivia and movie clips, you *may* see the same clip or question, but it's highly doubtful - excellent party game - up to four players can battle on your 360 - controllers are included in the price - extremely high replay value

The bad: You can't use the cool controllers for regular 360 titles - no online? This game BEGS to be online!

The ugly: My son, at age 4, OWN3D my wife at least 6-7 times on Party Play

Overall: 9 (out of 10): I have a family, and there are a few games we can play together. This is one of them. If you enjoy video games, like to have friends over, this is one of the best games to keep folks entertained. In this day and age, more developers are making games that appeal to mass audiences. The insane amount of movie/actor/actress questions, plus the four controllers, make this one of the best video game values to date. Take the Live demo for a spin and see how much you know about movies.

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