A business dinner is a great place to utilise all those scraps of knowledge that are useless in day-to-day life, otherwise known as trivia. Obviously, most of your time will be spent talking about tax evasion and off-shore bank accounts, but throwing around a bit of useless trivia is a great way to be cordial. The iPhone quiz game, Trivia Burst, then would seem like a perfect game to fill your mind with banal conversational material before such an occasion.
After playing the ‘Lite’ version of Trivia Burst which features virtually nothing, I forked out £0.59 in the hope that the full version would contain, well, something. The first thing that struck me upon starting Trivia Burst is its strange presentation. The whole game has a red-and-gold colour scheme that makes it look like a Soviet propaganda poster, while playing it is accompanied by a dull beat that can barely pass as music.
The question roster is varied enough, with all the usual categories being present. There’s a heavy focus on US Sports, with Hockey, Baseball, Basketball and American Football each having their own category separate from ‘Sports’. This, along with the fact that real Football has been labelled as ‘Soccer’, suggests that Trivia Burst is angled towards an American audience rather than a UK one.
Playing Trivia Burst single-player feels completely futile, as the game is effectively just a question-chundering machine. There is no Trivial Pursuit-style board, no Chris Tarrant, and no fake money to win; all you can win in this game is good old-fashioned ‘points’. Interestingly, earning enough points can earn you money-off vouchers at Amazon, but the amount of time you’d have to waste on this game to get them is an unappealing thought.
The only possible redemption for Trivia Burst would be good online options. After being forced to sign up to the social games network, Plus +, I went in search of worthy opponents. As it turns out though, you can only challenge people who you already know. Since I don’t know anyone who plays this obscure trivia game and who also happens to be on their iPhone at the same time as me, I was left feeling lonely and frustrated.
Trivia Burst has very few tweakable options. Aside from adjusting the quantity and difficulty of the questions, you also have the option of turning the brain-numbing music off; sadly, this is the best option in the game aside from pressing the Home button on your iPhone and finding another way to occupy your time. There are plenty of questions, particularly for US users, but Trivia Burst manages to take all the cheap joy out of answering them.
By Bit33/E5 Interactive, Updated 19th October 2010, £0.59/$0.99