Whatâ€™s this? A trivia game with suspiciously familiar-looking buzzer-like controllers? Next youâ€™ll be telling me thereâ€™ll be a karaoke-like game for the 360â€¦
Comparisons to Sonyâ€™s Buzz series aside, Scene It is Microsoftâ€™s latest attempt at luring a more casual audience over to its Xbox 360. Adapted from the board game of the same name, Scene It is a movie trivia game that has you answering all sorts of Hollywood-related questions. Overall, itâ€™s not a bad package, but will only really appeal to a certain sort of gamer.
The first thing youâ€™re bound to notice is the price â€“ handily, itâ€™s the same price as a regular game, but still comes with four buzzer controllers, and (amazingly) batteries are included. Thatâ€™s right, these controllers are wireless; itâ€™s quite nice being able to sit back and not have to worry about all the wires that spread over your whole lounge while playing Buzz. Unfortunately, the controllers are infra-red, so youâ€™ll need to point them in the general direction of the included USB dongle for your button presses to be recognized. Still, the overall package is very well made, and quite impressive considering the price point.
The game itself is pretty much what I was expecting from a casual game on the 360 â€“ it feels sleeker and more polished than something like Buzz, while also being devoid of too much personality. Still, thatâ€™s not necessarily a bad thing â€“ I get mighty sick of the host from Buzz. Upon setting up your controllers (which could have been a bit simpler, and might confuse some casual players), youâ€™re presented with a whopping two game modes â€“ Party Play and Play Now. Party Play is simply a collection of the various question types that goes on and on until you get bored. Play Now, on the other hand, lets you play short or long games that consist of a more in depth scoring mechanism, and ends after a certain number of rounds. Itâ€™s definitely the mode to go for if you have even a small streak of competitiveness.
The rounds are loosely based on different areas of movie production, and theyâ€™re all set in a Hollywood movie lot. So if youâ€™re in the animation studio, the questions will be based on drawings, and so forth. Generally speaking, a question will pop up, and the longer you take to answer it, the fewer points youâ€™ll get. Some rounds deduct points for incorrect answers, while others just award points for correct ones. Overall thereâ€™s a good amount of variety to the questions, so you shouldnâ€™t come across too many repeats until youâ€™ve been playing for some time.
The biggest draw here is the inclusion of many movie clips and sound bites. Itâ€™s pretty cool sitting back and watching a clip, and then pretty frantic as you realize you should have been paying more attention when the questions continually stump you. Oh, and if you arenâ€™t much of a movie buff, you may as well stop reading now.
However, we found that playing the game for extended periods of time got quite boring. Either we needed a lot of alcohol, or we needed to be quite a bit younger, but after a bit you just stop caring too much about the questions. The relatively lifeless presentation doesnâ€™t really help either â€“ at least in Buzz you could do cool things like make your characters taunt everyone else when they won. Still, if you have kids who are into movies, they should find a lot to like here.
Overall, itâ€™s hard to recommend Scene It without a few provisos. If youâ€™re a casual gamer who enjoys movie trivia, head down to a video store and rent this sucker (if you can find it). For anyone else, itâ€™s still worth renting â€“ just donâ€™t expect to be entertained for hours and hours on end.