Innovation is a rare quality these days, particularly in some of the genre staples of the big app stores. One of those genres that has suffered from a host of pointless and generic releases has been the quiz game.
They tend to either be simple apps with just lists of questions or sometimes coated in 3D graphics with mini games thrown in, so it is refreshing to see someone try something a little different.
Face Rivals is an online quiz game where the aim is to beat opponents over a set number of rounds, with questions based on a variety of subjects, from the standard trivia regulars such as Movies and Music, to more interesting topics like maths and vocabulary.
The online part is where the game really starts to differentiate from the pack.
You create an avatar using your own face. Take a snap with the camera or use a pre-existing shot, then move and zoom the picture until it matches up to the general size the app wants, and then its a case of finishing off the rest of your details and you are ready to go.
When you start a new game, you get the option of looking for a random opponent, entering a known username and picking a topic. There is usually someone to play against, but there should be an option for picking ‘any’ for a topic to broaden your search.
Once you have found someone, you start the first round by answering a set of multiple choice question, and are assigned a score based on time and how many you answered correctly. You are then taken back to the main screen while you wait for your opponent to finish their questions.
This is where is can become a little confusing, as a lot of the time your opponent isn’t actually online, but will instead be alerted to the quiz via a push notification. It seems strange at first, and you might find yourself sitting at the main screen waiting for you opponent thinking “Ok, what next?”, but the reason the developer has adopted this system soon becomes clear. You can set up several quizzes to be running at the same time, so you can send out an open invitation for several different topics, and also invite a couple of known friends at the same time, and you can also reply to invitations at your leisure.
It’s not immediate, but it suits the mobile format well.
The ‘face’ part of the game comes into play when a round is won or lost. You can put stickers on your opponents face, such as a silly hat or mustache, or even a caption and sound effects. It’s great fun, especially as you can invite Facebook and Twitter friends to join you in the game.
The game does support Game Center leader boards, but has it’s own user list, which means, if like most people you have several iOS devices in your house, all under the same account you can play each other online, something Game Center inherently disallows. The only thing missing is multiple accounts on one device. Bluetooth multiplayer is also missing, as is pass and play.
The visuals are bright and colourful, and the sound effect are funny, and the whole app breezes along smoothly.
The only real criticism, aside from the few missing elements I have mentioned, is that the questions repeat themselves far too often. Hopefully the developer addresses this issue, as quiz games, innovative or not, live or die by the number of questions in their databases.
Importantly, this is a universal app, designed for both iPhone and iPad, adding a lot of value to it’s freemium status. We always give extra credit for apps that do this.
Overall then, this is an excellent quiz game, one that feels like it is trying something new with the genre. Socially fun, it uses the format well and, despite a few missing features, it will prove a worthy download.