Friday, June 06, 2008

TV Show King

TV Show King, available for the Wii through the Wiiware download service, is so middle-of-the-road it makes lane dividers look extreme.

This sort of product is exactly the reason that "quiz games" and "bargain bin" are synonymous. Admittedly, this is a bargain-priced title, but that's no excuse for it being bafflingly bad.

The problem is not in the questions, which are numerous and reasonably competent. Each question is a four-answer multiple choice, and the available choices are usually intelligent enough to make you think for a moment.

Neither is the devil in the presentation. The game takes the form of a quiz show, introduced by a grinning presenter with some worrying eyebrows, and each player is depicted by a Mii, which is awesome.

It's the gameplay which is thoroughly saturated with awful. The developers seems absolutely determined to make sure that small children can regularly beat adults. There are two aspects to this. Firstly, you select your answer to each question by pointing at it with the Wiimote and clicking. It's obvious to everyone else what answer you've selected, so if someone looks like they know the answer then the other players can just piggyback on their genius. The first player to answer correctly gets more points, but not a lot more points.

And secondly, between every round there's this ridiculous "wheel of fortune" thing, where you can spin the wheel to gain or lose points. The wheel on average will grant or deduct as many points as you would gain from playing a perfect round, with a couple of extreme options thrown in which remove all your points or give you more points than you could possibly score in a game. When you play two perfect rounds and then see the chump who didn't know the capital of France take first place it's like your fun just got sharply kicked in the groin.

Admittedly it's not like there's a lot of high-quality quiz games out there to prefer over this, but TV Show King is still a pretty bottom rung choice and is certainly not the best advertisement for the new Wiiware service. I won't flat out say to avoid it at all costs, but I will heavily imply it.

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