Atari – Trivial Pursuit Unhinged review

an interesting new twist to a classic game
Photo of Atari – Trivial Pursuit Unhinged

In the olden days, we spoke Latin. In the really olden days, grunts sufficed. Nowadays, we’ve regressed back towards the latter in our obsession with the text message, or rather, txt msg. Hence Trivial Pursuit becomes ‘Triv’ and impossible to say without sounding like a 21 year old Oxbridge graduate (add a slight lisp to the ‘R’ for the ultimate Tarquin effect, as it’s known).

‘Triv’ has been monstrously popular for a long time now and several incarnations have appeared in computer game format. Atari’s latest effort is taking a new approach and offering a rather wacky version of the game with the Unhinged play mode, as well as the traditional affair.

The classic game is just how it should be, identical to the board game but with two questioning options. There’s the traditional answer out loud method, or a multiple choice mode which gives you four answers to pick from. When you play the Unhinged game, however, multiple choice questions are compulsory.

There are a fair few changes to the game board when playing Unhinged, with random effects appearing on various squares. These allow you to rotate the board, teleport elsewhere, swap a question you don’t like the look of and so forth. While this livens up the board a bit, Unhinged also shakes up the questioning process by introducing a timer and bonus point system.

The faster you answer a question correctly, the more points you collect. These can be spent in various crafty ways – you can buy a re-roll of the dice, swap a question or even steal a wedge (or cheese, as we like to call them) from another player. In an extra twist, you can bet these points on whether the other players will get questions right or wrong.

This gives you something to do when not answering questions and quickens the pace of the game, as while the answerer rushes to hit the correct multiple choice key to gain maximum bonus points, the other players are all hammering their bet keys. Throw in a few beers and you’ve got much more of a party game atmosphere than traditional Triv.

It’s good to see that the quality of the questions is very sound and localised to the UK, although we can’t help thinking the developer could have made more of the multimedia aspects. It claims on the box that there are “hundreds of video clips”, but in a long stretch of play we came across mostly text-based questions and a handful of static pictures, with a couple of video clips. But if our dice rolling skills are anything to go by, maybe we were just unlucky.

Overall the presentation is flash – rather too flash. The board looks all jazzy and colourful but isn’t very clear or functional and the manner in which the 3D camera bobs around when it pans just makes you feel seasick. This camera movement isn’t so bad in the traditional game (obviously the zaniness of Unhinged mode requires such trendy yet painful antics).

For a quick play there’s also the Flash game where the first to six correct answers wins. Additionally, Trivial Pursuit Unhinged boasts Internet play via Gamespy, so it’s pretty well featured all round.

Company: Atari

It's niggled by dodgy, way-over-the-top presentation and a lack of multimedia elements to the questions, but Trivial Pursuit Unhinged introduces a genuinely fun and faster paced "party" mode which expands the Triv experience (although you need more than a couple of players to really appreciate it). At this price, you've got yourself an enjoyable quiz game which won't disappoint Triv addicts.