Fresh from releasing the inaugural PlayLink title That’s You in July, Wish Studios has come back with a second game for Sony’s smartphone-based lineup: Knowledge Is Power – a one to six player quiz game. While it’s more orthodox compared to the delightful oddball that was That’s You, the Brighton studio’s latest outing still has its own selling points.
Played via the Knowledge Is Power app – the fact that each PlayLink game will have its own phone app could prove problematic in the future – the camera plays much less of a role than in Wish Studios’ previous title. Still, at the beginning of each game every player gets to choose an avatar, from a mustachioed man wearing a hot dog suit to some kind of gelatinous professor, each accompanied by a corresponding camera filter – so beware those averse to selfies.
The actual gameplay is made up of three main components: first, players vote which category to choose – represented on-screen by doors that your characters run through – then everyone decides which Power Play they want to use and who to use it on. These are essentially spanners to throw in your opponents’ works: using gunk on an opponent means that they’ll need to wipe away slime on their phone screen in order to see the answers, while ice means they’ll have to tap multiple times on an answer to select it. These effects stack, so often the losing players team up to bombard the frontrunner with effects, often leading to entertaining outcomes.
The questions are typical quiz fare, and there’s plenty enough of them to play rounds seemingly forever. The only issue is that, with categories and Power Plays to choose, it feels like you’re only being quizzed for half of the game. Typical quizzes last around half an hour, but the twelve rounds only contain about 15 questions: one per round for the first eleven rounds, then multiple for the final Grand Finale, in which players have to answer questions as quick as they can in order to advance up the Pyramid of Knowledge and win the game. Power Plays are easily the most fun part of the game, but it feels like there’s a bit too much waiting in Knowledge Is Power and not enough actual quizzing going on.
That being said, the game isn’t without its charms. At the end of each game, the winning player is rewarded with a fact, which is a nice touch. The visual style is quite nice, too, with bright colours and cartoonish backgrounds, but again it’s overshadowed by That’s You’s more idyllic settings. Some of the characters – the quizmaster in particular – also seem to have weird outlines and jagged edges that are quite distracting, but then again it’s not often that you’ll be looking at the screen anyway.
Like its PlayLink predecessor, Knowledge Is Power’s app also contains a game in which the PS4 isn’t required: a five-question quiz in which the phone is passed from team to team and Power Plays are still used. Again, it’s a nice idea as it means that the game’s app isn’t completely useless without a PS4.
While it's not as unique or charming as its predecessor That's You, Knowledge Is Power is a solid, fun quiz game for when you've got friends or family around. While it's a little light on actual quizzing, the Power Plays allow for plenty of game-changing moments and inject some tension into the game as everyone scrambles to wipe virtual goo off of their phones and answer first. With another solid game added to its lineup and many more coming over the next few months, Sony's PlayLink service won't be going away anytime soon.