By: Uma Smith
Please answer the following question:
Which of these 1939 events happened first?
A) Wizard of Oz was released
B) Gone With The Wind was released
C) Lou Gehrig‘s farewell address to Yankee Stadium
D) Slovak’s invasion of Poland
Time’s up! What was that? Too quick? Well, too bad! This was one of the hardest question that a contestant had to answer during the TV show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Imagine this was a million-dollar question. How would you do under the pressure? Luckily, Canadian developer, Ludia, has given aspiring players the chance to experience the game first hand — that is without the actual cash winnings. So get ready as we play (and review) Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Using the d-pad to highlight the answer and pressing X to select it makes the game very easy to be acquainted with. The shoulder and trigger buttons are assigned to the three lifelines and the choice of walking away. This actually is quite useful and convenient to have. However, a single button to activate a lifeline menu could be more effective in preventing players in pushing the wrong button if they’re playing the game for the very first time and don’t know what the symbols represent.
In terms of the style and overall look, the game appears pretty ordinary when compared to other titles within the same genre. It’s not all bad, but Ludia could have done a better job in giving life to the characters and sprucing up the environment. The audience is just a bunch of stationary silhouettes in the background while avatars are limited in selection and generic in appearance. However, for a downloadable title, the visuals are acceptable.
The original background songs from the TV show are used throughout this game and this really helps in evoking a sense of thrill and suspense. Regis Philbin unfortunately was not available this time as the host. Instead, we get a replacement announcer that, while decent, can also become annoying over time.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? plays out in the same manner as the TV show where your goal is to answer a series of multiple-choice questions. The difficulty as well as the value of the prize money increases starting from $500 to (that’s right, you guessed it!) a million dollars. At every five questions, there is a checkpoint where all the money you’ve earned is banked.
You can choose to walk away at any time, even during the very first question, which I found amusing (I actually exercised this option to see what happens). So if, for some peculiar reason (maybe the stress from the video game version is too much), you want to end up with $0, you can. Anyway, at whatever point you decide to walk away, you’ll win the amount from the last question. However, if you continue on and answer incorrectly before reaching the next checkpoint, you will have to settle for the amount earned at the time of the last checkpoint.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? grants you three lifeline, each of which can only be used ones. One lifeline, asking the audience, will provide a poll of their guesses. The other, phoning a friend, will have an indicator showing the percentage of confidence he or she has towards their response. No, they won’t call your friend in real life! Finally, the last lifeline lets you have two guesses at the question. They’re meant to be used when you come across those really difficult questions, so choose wisely.
You’ll find that each question gets tougher than the previous. The fact that there’s a diverse selection of categories for these questions doesn’t make reaching the $1 million prize any easier. To add further challenge, there is a time limit for each question, though it increases after every checkpoint. However, if you want to break the authenticity of the game show’s tension, you’re free to pause the game and do a little Google search.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? also keeps track of your winnings and posts them on the online leaderboard. The inclusion of both local and online multiplayer takes a shot at diversifying the gameplay, but really this is meant to be enjoyed as a single-player experience. Besides, who wants to risk the chance of winning a million dollars by having others disrupt your progress?
Ludia’s approach to this popular TV show is appropriate for those seeking a title that tests their trivia skills. For $9.99, you get to participate and enjoy the same challenges that the contestants on TV faced. If you can look past its presentation and simplicity, then it’s a buy. And that’s my final answer!