Eggheads (Nintendo DS) - Review by Andrew
Quiz shows have always been a popular format for television and over the years there's been plenty of programs that have been something of an event, with finals of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Mastermind ranking amongst the 'must see' TV that week. The fact that there's so many of these is simple: they are inexpensive to produce and no sooner does one end, another takes its place. Eggheads has been around for some time now and is shown in the UK against the Six O'clock news, no doubt aimed at viewers who wish to limit their bad news intake for the day. Game tie-in are somewhat inevitable, the only problem with bringing these titles to a handheld format has been the repetitive nature of the questions. So, how does Eggheads fair on the system?
While Eggheads tries to approach the tried and tested Trivia formula in a unique and original way, let's face it, this is all about answering questions. Starting a game will pit you against five Eggheads, over as many rounds, with questions in 9 subject categories - ranging from Geography to Science, Arts & Books, Entertainment, Politics, Sport, General Knowledge, History and Food & Drink. Each of these rounds is based on the best out of three so if you happen to get one of the multiple choose questions correct; you'll be rewarded with a green tick. The hope here is that your opponent doesn't have a clue what the answer is but unfortunately for you, they always do. Should a round end in a stalemate you'll be forced into a Sudden Death situation. This is a text-based challenge and each question must be answered by imputing each letter via the virtual keyboard. Frustratingly you may actually know the correct answer but spelling it wrong will allow your opponent (who also has perfect spelling abilities) to steal the point away from you. It's this kind of design which does make playing Eggheads seem a little unfair and with almost 2,500 questions, and no ability to discover the correct answer (when you get a question wrong), it can be difficult to master. Should the main game become too frustrating (and trust us, it will) there's always the Challenge Section. This is more of a 'quick fire' experience with everything from True or False to Memory games on offer. Not all of these are available at the beginning and you'll need to rank on the high score table of each before unlocking the next. You can also gain rewards here to be used in the main game and earning points will give you bonus items such as hints or changing the question category which can greatly improve your chances of success.
Absolutely all touch-screen, as if you couldn't guess.
Like other quiz titles before it, the visuals here are all about clarity and unlike WWTBAM; there isn't even any FMV to link the various rounds. What you do get is a very no nonsense approach to the overall presentation and Eggheads is one of the most aesthetically sparse games we've ever come across. Where this does work though, is when you must input a text answer via the touch-screen and had the designers got a little carried away here, this may have been difficult to see. The highlight for fans of the series will be some images of the 'eggheads' themselves although these are incredibly low resolution and could actually be anyone.
Fans of the show will delighted to hear that the game features the TV soundtrack but outside of the odd applause, and lots of 'hmmmm' as you get yet another question wrong, there's little else really.
You're going to require your stylus right through your time with Eggheads as everything requires a touch-screen input. Don't even think about using your fingernails either as some of the selections (such as the Sudden Death text input) require pixel perfect accuracy on your part.
After years of incredibly simple TV quiz tie-ins where not only are the questions repeated but also easy to answer, along comes Eggheads. This is tough, very tough and during our time with the game we didn't manage to beat it once. This wasn't all down to unlimited questions or clever programming though but the unfair Sudden Death text input. Add to this the fact that almost every one of the Eggheads seems to be an expert on just about everything and, well, you can see where we are going with this. Still, if you are a fan of the series this is an engaging and entertaining little game and, even if it does become a little too frustrating, there are always the challenges.
Pro: Intelligent Questions, Great Challenges.
Con: Incredibly Bland Presentation, Flawed Text Input, Difficult to Beat the Eggheads
Final score: 5
|Publisher:||Avanquest Software Publishing|