Being greeted by a poorly animated disembodied digital woman probably isn’t the best first impression for It’s Quiz Time to give, and when you discover that Salli – that’s Sally, but for digital people – is your constant companion throughout the game, you’re likely to worry even more. You’d be right too, because while you can have fun playing this quiz game with a group of friends – this is from the same team of developers as Buzz! after all – Salli will do her best to put you off ever wanting to return.
Your first step is for all the players to download the companion app to their iOS or Android phones or tablets, follow the instructions which include bunging your name in, a suitable age range for questions, and then enter the room code to begin playing the quiz. It all works surprisingly smoothly, and during our playtime we didn’t have any issues with slow responses or the app not behaving, which we’ve experienced in the past with the Jackbox Party packs.
It’s here that you’ll begin to worry about Salli. For a start, she’s the bizarre lovechild of Halo’s Cortana, Elsa from Frozen, and Rayman, and for another she knows your name. She’ll make damn sure that you feel as though she knows your name as well, as if she’s read too many fairy tales, and knows that she now has power over you. Her spoken delivery sounds like it’s been borrowed from some other text to speech application, which I guess makes sense for a digital quiz host, but it really just comes off as low rent.
She’s also not very nice. If you’re not doing very well at any point, she will troll you in the most unfunny way that borders on bullying. If there was some comedy or humour in her dialogue or delivery perhaps it might work better, but you’ll generally just want to shut her up. It’s bad enough that a member of the group doesn’t know the answers, but she ensures they’ll feel needlessly downtrodden. Luckily you can turn off her voice and each phone screen has a skip button, and while it doesn’t stop her entirely, it will speed things up and limit your interaction with her to vaguely acceptable levels.
It’s a bit of a shame that Salli is so mean, as there’s the core of a good quiz game here. The rest of the presentation helps to make it feel like a quiz show, with some nice backgrounds and graphical stings for each section, while the mobile phone and tablet set-up makes playing with a bunch of friends a breeze. There’s a huge repository of questions and some fun and inventive rounds, including one which has you trying to talk about a subject while your opponents flag any of the key aspects that you’ve mentioned. It’s surprisingly tough to mention all fifteen proposed things, even when you think you know a lot about a subject, but it’s good fun trying to get there.
It can feel a little too hard at times though. There’s questions about astronomy that only someone who had studied it could possibly know, or history questions that feel too obscure. Of course, everything is easy if you know the answer, and impossible if you don’t, but it’s a fine line for a game to tread. What’s more of a problem is when the answers are plain wrong. Having chosen Video Game Companies as my specialist subject, the question “Which platform game was developed by Nintendo?” came up, with the game’s answer given as “Dr. Mario”. It’s hopefully an isolated incident, but if this is the level of accuracy in its own field, I’d hate to think what it might be like for the others.
Besides playing with up to eight friends, there’s also the option to play a solo score attack game. This has you choose a specialist subject that then peppers a series of thirty general knowledge questions. It’s not a very exciting diversion though, and besides picking up a trophy I can’t imagine anyone returning to it. You can also stream a show live on Twitch or Youtube which is a smart inclusion, especially for any budding quiz show hosts, and there’ll be event quizzes coming very soon to round the package out.
It’s Quiz Time has all the basics of a good quiz game, and can be plenty of fun with a group of friends. However, the host is unlikeable, rude and annoying, and you’ll be doing everything you can to give her as little screen time as possible, while the accuracy and difficulty of some of the questions can rob some rounds of their enjoyment.
Version Tested: PlayStation 4 Pro