Name: TV Show King
Today we here in the States finally got a reason to dust off our Wiimotes and fire up the not-so-next-gen console as Nintendo unveiled the much-heralded Wiiware games on the Wii Shop Channel. Six titles were released, and after we drew straws around the office, I got to review TV Show King.
TV Show King is modelled after a television game show- complete with a plastic-looking host, poorly proportioned blonde co-host, studio audience, and a big wheel to spin for prizes. The idea of the game is to (duh) win the most money. There are two games modes- a full four-round game show, or quiz mode, which has one player answering questions until he gets one wrong.
Each full game is divided into rounds (either 3, 5, or 7, as chosen by the player) which is comprised of three regular questions, a bonus question, followed by an optional spin of the wheel. The regular and bonus questions are each given four possible multiple choice answers, and points are awarded for both correct answers, and speed of answering. So clicking the correct answer first is worth more points to you than if you are the second player to ring in. The bonus round gives a cash bonus to everyone who gets the answer correct.
At the end of each round players are given the option of spinning a wheel, which has both prizes and penalties, in order to increase your dollar amount. Prizes include the obvious instant cash reward, but there are also spaces on the wheel that allow you to take money from another player. So opting out of spinning the wheel is no guarantee that your money will be safe. Penalties include losing money; and the double-edged sword on the wheel that is the "Swap Money" space which forces the player to switch monetary totals with another contestant. If you're behind the other players, this space is a boon, but if you're in the lead, the last thing you want to do is give all of your money away.
All games played in the full mode are played with four contestants. So if you select a one player game, you will automatically be assigned three random NPCs from the studio audience. One of the coolest features of TV Show King is the integration of the Miis into the game. All contestants are picked from your Mii archive (or from a list of Miis that come with the game), and the audience is comprised entirely of Miis. It is so rare that third-party games use the Miis, so it was a nice change to see them so seamlessly integrated into this game.
There are three levels of difficulty for the questions- easy, medium, and genius. The easy questions are so simple that I'm fairly certain my 4-year old neice would sweep them, and the genius questions are actually quite difficult. Categories run the gamut from history to math, science, current events, pop culture, and geography.
Graphically, there isn't much pop to TV Show King. It looks nice for a Wiiware title, not as simple as Defend Your Castle, but not nearly as polished as Lost Winds. The sound is nothing to write home about, and the canned game show music does grate the nerves after a little bit.
Still though, it is a fun party game, on par with games like Scene It or Rock Band, but not as addictive. And at 1000 Wii Points ($10.00), I can't say that it is for everyone. But for me, a trivia junkie, it was totally worth it.