Developer: Wish Studios Publisher: SIE Platform: PS4 Review code provided
Of all the PlayLink games I’ve played, Knowledge Is Power is probably my favourite. By no means an essential game, it still offered some fun distractions for the few hours that it felt fresh, its irreverent tone the ideal match for a night with friends. Knowledge Is Power: Decades is essentially just more of the same, so your mileage may vary depending on whether or not you gelled with the first entry. It’s a slight improvement but is ultimately not a revolution.
For the uninitiated: Knowledge Is Power is the modern version of the Buzz! games sans the migraine-inducing host. It’s playable entirely through a smart device, meaning that it bridges a gap between gamers and non-gamers fairly easily and also serves as some pretty fun filler between bigger games. It’s not revolutionary, instead more like a particularly greasy kebab that you enjoyed at the time but don’t really want to eat again for a long while.
Decades, and I can’t stress this enough, really is the same experience at its core. The renovations are minimal with its new generational theme being the main hook, which means that it’s likely more appealing for the whole family than before — dad’s useless knowledge about British sitcoms from the eighties may finally come in handy.
The decades in question are the eighties, nineties, noughties, and whatever the hell the mess we’re in right now is called. My party of four only had about ten years between us in terms of age range, my sister an eighties kid and my partner just a couple of years younger than me. It’s clear that Decades is supposed to favour the grown-ups in a family just as much as the youngsters, though nothing made me feel as old as answering modern questions and not knowing what a Migos was. I am still not sure.
The meat of Knowledge Is Power: Decades entails answering different questions from different eras. Players are able to choose a door with the majority deciding the category; players are also able to to use a Power Pick to overrule the consensus, which is a tool that I gleefully used whenever horror categories came up. The trivia consists of the obvious and the obscure: some will get the answers right away, others may struggle. Of all the rounds I played, I never encountered the same question and equally never felt like I would nail everything.
There’s also a surprising amount of tactical play in Knowledge Is Power: Decades, something that I didn’t pick up on quite as much. Players are given equalizers each round that they can use to handicap others or to give themselves a boost. They range from zipping all the answers and making the player swipe to reveal them or covering answers in ice and causing some overzealous tapping to remove it.
It’s cheap as hell and I love it, creating friction between loved ones by ganging up on the strong. I was constantly getting bastarded by people who supposedly like me, which created plenty of funny moments. Some of these are a little “overpowered”, however, causing responses to be slowed by at least a few seconds, which can be especially annoying when they can stack up with other hindrances. Still, if it’s drama you want, you have to take all the cheap shots you can.
To spice things up away from answering questions as quickly as possible, Knowledge Is Power: Decades paces out little mini-games that involve finding the matching letter in a movie name or connecting two halves of an answer together among others. These are usually frenetic as everyone has their heads-down in their phones, desperately swiping to try to beat the others to the punch. Even those who aren’t that great with trivia have a chance with Knowledge Is Power: Decades, evidenced by my sneaky fiancée somehow eking out a win in the last stretches of a game.
The finale of a Knowledge Is Power: Decades match revolves around players trying to ascend a pyramid, the player who had the most points in previous rounds getting a head-start. However, this puts a massive target on their back, meaning that performing well actually means that you might be damning yourself for the win. My partner, who had been diligently answering some questions right and some wrong, reached the summit before anyone else by avoiding the constant kerfuffle and all of the game’s most egregious of handicaps as a result of not being out in front.
There’s a lot of fun to be had with Knowledge Is Power: Decades, but like every other PlayLink game that I can think of, it’s still disposable. You get the gist and all of its quirks pretty quickly, meaning that the freshness doesn’t stay around for long. That being said, compared to something like the also recently released Chimparty which is random chance to its core, Knowledge Is Power: Decades might be perfect to dust off for Christmas just like your decades-old Monopoly board.
Wholesome fun in quick morsels, Knowledge Is Power: Decades is bound to tear loved ones apart in all the right ways.Microtransactions: none