If you are, like me, swayed by the odd casual quiz game, from the likes of Scene It?, Xbox Live’s 1 vs. 100, or the excellent Buzz! series on Sony’s PS3, you might well just find this arcade title a lovely little pleasure. If you’re a football fan, that is!
If you hadn’t guessed from the title, Football Genius is aimed squarely at those who love all things football, and punts “over 3500 questions” your way throughout its variety of game modes. If you’re not a fan, then things are going to get tricky. It’s a casual title sure (avatar integration and its comedic sound effect buzz-ins are a sign of which), however it never feels so overwhelming as to be a lesser game. At all times consistently smooth, slick, colourful and glitzy in its presentation, The Ultimate Quiz boasts that glamorous trivia quiz veneer that we come to expect from mainstream game shows. The previously mentioned avatar integration is slick and nicely implemented in a similar vein to the 1 vs. 100 format, where poses and celebrations add to its cutesy charm and family friendly appeal as the final podium places pop up at full time.
With a choice between a short game (the appropriately named “Half Time”), or an extended game (“Full Time”) – the latter of which will come in at a meagre 8 minutes – players will enjoy a number of different rounds that each differ in accordance to their football entitlement. “Kick Off”, for example, is the first of said rounds, in which players get off the mark in multiple choice questions, whereas the “On Side” round will unveil clues in sequence as a timer makes its way to zero, with players tasked to buzz in when they believe they have the right answer. Thus, waiting a longer time is more likely to increase chances of a correct answer, but will likely result in fewer points, introducing a risk /reward mechanic that is appreciated – especially if playing with others, where the game exceeds its single player counterpart ten-fold. Adding two well designed rounds itself, such as one in which points can be “tackled” from opposing players, multiplayer is the best way to experience the game, bulking out the longevity of the game with a number of modes relying on either being the first to buzz in, or highlighting answers before another player, ensuring enjoyable, yet short, competitive play. The expected staples of the quiz game are all here, with slowly revealing picture rounds and the like all showing up. With each round having differing awardation of the spread of points, FG’s short games are lively and for the most part fun enough to remain engaging.
Where the game falters is perhaps its sole reason for being here also. The questions, for the most part, are shallow and simple. You won’t need to be a football genius to answer most of the up-to-date questions on show, although bizarrely you’d have to be a mastermind to answer others (“What was the final score in the 2005 Confederates Cup?”, “What is Ryan Giggs’s middle name?” Huh!?) where a random guess will likely precede the animated tick or cross. I also raise doubts over the possible longevity that the arcade title offers, with repetition of questions already cropping up after a short play-time (in one round, I even had the same question asked in succession!).
Certainly not a disappointment but neither is it highly recommended. The game is both charming and fun, but also shallow and lacking. If you want to experience the game at its best, try play it with friends or online (which sadly is a ghost town at the time of writing). It is what it purports to be, a family-friendly football trivia game and it just about achieves this.
MLG Rating: 6/10
Platform: Xbox 360 Release Date: 30/09/2009
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Football Genius: The Ultimate Quiz for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of two days on an Xbox 360. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.