When Scene It? hit the shelves in 2007, the Xbox 360 found itself with an unlikely new market: family gaming. Since that time, there has been a host of new quiz games ranging from unique, to simple carbon copy.
Football Genius – The Ultimate Quiz attempts to capitalize on the recent success of FIFA 10 with an intellectually charged football angle. Does it succeed? Or is it doomed to be yet another Xbox Live Arcade title that simply passes us by?
Unfortunately, after playing a single “Half-Time” game of Football Genius you realize that you are, indeed, playing a quiz game clone with a couple of football references thrown in. Certainly, there is plenty to enjoy if you are entertaining two or three football-crazed buddies, but if you only have an XBL Silver account, or are simply playing by yourself, you may end up feeling that you are sitting an exam rather than playing an arcade game.
The initial features on offer are likely to whet the appetite of any sports fan with an interest in football. Football Genius boasts over 3,500 unique trivia questions, nine rounds, six different question packs including International, English, and Spanish football, and support for those chunky, but oh-so-lovable, Scene It? Big Buttons.
With all of this on show, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a step in the right direction for simple Arcade titles. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. The rounds are dull, the music is horridly repetitive, and the questions are – to those with more than a passing interest in football – far too simple. Of course, there will be the odd team that you will mix up, or player’s name that you will forget, but, personally, I never came across question that I did not know the answer to after a few moments thought. Perhaps it is the simplicity of multiple choice, but there is nothing more frustrating than playing a game that is unable to challenge you.
The biggest problem with the lack of difficulty is that football fans will be frustrated, while the standard gamer will grow weary of playing a quiz solely concerning football.
This is where online play redeems Football Genius. Throw ins, free kicks, red cards, and more, are all utilized perfectly to provide an intense, challenging, and ultimately rewarding experience for gamers. Online multiplayer will pit you against fellow football fans in a quest for dominance. After switching from offline mode to XBL, I found that I could truly be tested against those superior to me; never had I been more pleased with losing.
At the moment, Football Genius is not one of the more popular titles on XBLA, and you may often find yourself attempting to join an online game when no-one else – in the entire world! – is playing. So, unless you have a large group of friends, all with a keen interest in football and an Xbox 360, you may have a tough time testing your ultimate knowledge of the sport.
I-Imagine Interactive has attempted to heighten the appeal of football to a wider audience with Football Genius – but there’s a problem; there is nothing unique or intriguing about this game apart from the fact that it is solely dedicated to football. To be blunt, there is far more entertainment to be gained in researching and discovering the answers for yourself, rather than pitting your wits against online button-mashers.
Fans of Scene It?, and other multiplayer quiz games will find a sound level of entertainment here, as will football nuts looking for an intellectual break from a game of FIFA. Unfortunately, they will more often than not prise only an hour or two worth of amusement before they revert back to the wealth of bigger, better, and more rewarding titles of the same genre.
Someone over at I-Imagine went crazy with Google Images, and ended up plastering the game’s background with picture after endless picture of stock photographs.
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There is an obvious attempt to merge football buzzwords into the rounds and, to an extent, it is quite pleasing. However, after a few games, repetition begins to set in and, soon enough, you’ll never want to hear another question about Liverpool in your life.
Paris Hilton wailing out of tune is better than listening to Football Genius’s 10-second, looped MIDI track.
Single player is more a chore than entertainment, and offline multiplayer will likely cause you to lose friends due to your awful taste in party games. Online gaming does have its benefits, though, and if you are a true football fan, you will revel in the knowledge that, yes, there are people just like you in the world.
Football Genius brings nothing new to the table in terms of quiz game innovation, but there is more than enough on offer to warrant a trial download.