Knowledge is Power review: Tap to the top

Credit: Sony
Credit: Sony /

You have plenty of options if you want to throw a trivia night: cards, pub quizzes, board games. Knowledge is Power…is certainly one of those options.

Developer: Wish Studios
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: October 24, 2017

Trivia nights are a get-together staple, and there are countless iterations on the formula. Board games, pub quizzes, and even video games remain popular staples for evenings with friends or family, which means any newcomer to the genre needs to really stand out to find its place. Knowledge Is Power certainly makes an attempt. As a PlayStation Playlink title, players answer questions and attempt to obstruct one another using their phones. But this adds little to the experience beyond some frustrating hurdles to playing a slow-paced, cheesy trivia game.

Knowledge is Power certainly touts showmanship. It’s a trivia contest in the style of a game show for 2-6 players with twelve rounds. Each round has one question save the last, which includes a pyramid players must race to climb by answering questions, with score determining starting points. Players can select an avatar from a pool of bizarre characters ranging from a goth bee woman on roller skates to a man wearing a hot dog suit whose victory dance should really not be in a game marketed to kids.

knowledge is power
Credit: Sony /

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For all the glitz, the trivia itself gets boring, fast. The main reason for this is the time between trivia questions. Trivia games are better when questions are fired off at a fairly rapid pace so that you spend as much time playing as possible. But every single question requires time before and after for all the characters to travel to the next area on screen, pick a new category, and then go through a long series of animations where they try to hinder one another with obstacles such as goo, ice, or bombs. These traps will appear on your phone over the answers and require careful tapping to remove before you can actually answer the question. Since everyone gets a trap to throw for every single question (and we have to watch every person use it first), this makes the game ponderously slow.

It also means that the person who knows their trivia is rarely ever the winner. This gets even worse in the final round when the traps affect everyone within a certain area. It doesn’t matter if you can answer an obscure question about a movie star if you have to first swipe goo off your screen, tap vigorously, and avoid exploding bombs that force you to pause for a moment before continuing. You’ll never get the answer in time.

knowledge is power
Credit: Sony /

There’s not enough here beyond simple questions and answers to hold your attention for long.

Furthermore, the questions and categories are just…odd. You get a choice between four categories before each question, but often the questions are all on very similar themes. In one round, we had both “video games” and “gaming” as well as “male protagonists,” and picking the latter option gave us a question about Nathan Drake. I saw the “vegetables” category appear several times, and answered a few questions about vegetables when I was specifically avoiding that category. We did run into a good mix of easy and difficult questions throughout, but I’d note that despite its visual and verbal (the dialogue is so, so cheesy) appeal toward younger players, a lot of these questions will be things kids won’t know.

But my biggest hang-up is still the same hang-up I have with the whole darn Playlink system. You have to download a separate companion app just for this game, a process that can take time if all your players are on the same WiFi. It’s an app that takes up space on your phone and you’ll immediately delete when the party is over. If Sony wants to go full app route on this, I’d much prefer a single app that would work on all PlayLink games instead of individual apps per game, but that doesn’t seem to be the path they plan to take.

knowledge is power
Credit: Sony /

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Knowledge is Power is certainly a functional trivia game that, once you download an app, is easy enough to get into and play with your friends, but everyone will be bored after a single round. There’s not enough here beyond simple questions and answers to hold your attention for long, and that makes the game’s tedious pace drag on even worse. Get yourself some Trivial Pursuit and the drink of your choice for a far more enjoyable evening than this.

5. <em>Knowledge is Power</em> offers nothing that any other trivia game in any other medium doesn’t already offer, and what’s there is presented at such a drawn-out pace your party will start to snore. Its ostentatious aesthetics can’t mask the bare bones gameplay for very long.. Wish Studios. . Knowledge is Power

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.