We finally have a sequel to last year's silly PlayLink game show so get your buzzer warmed up and prepare to answer some trivia.
Last year, Wish Studios released 2 PlayLink games: That's You and Knowledge is Power. I picked both of those up because I'm a fan of Jackbox Games and figured more games that I could play with friends via our phones and tablets would be welcome in my living room. However, I was mildly disappointed with those titles but this year, I felt optimistic that Knowledge is Power's sequel improved upon the original. Unfortunately, the game is generally the exact same except with a new theme and a few added bells and whistles.
For the unfamiliar, Knowledge is Power is played by answering multiple choice trivia questions. The faster you answer, the more points you receive and it's very rewarding to be the quickest only to watch your score rise well above everyone else's. Its goofy game show world including a quirky cast of ridiculous characters is bursting with charm and the host's delivery as well as the generally fun-filled sound design only add to its aesthetic appeal. It really is a well-presented trivia game show which makes it more fun to play.
With all of that being said, the main issue that I had with the original remains here which is the fact that the questions themselves are one dimensional, unchallenging, and rather lame. When you compare these to the array of questions within an episode of You Don't Know Jack, Knowledge is Power: Decades pales in comparison. The questions are all about "Do you know this fact?" as opposed to elaborate scenarios that you have to untangle and use strategies such as process of elimination to answer. Plus, most of the questions here are super-easy. As a result, getting an answer correct is far less satisfying than it could have been.
Knowledge is Power: Decades sets itself apart by offering sets of questions based on the '80s, '90s, '00s, and '10s. Although this premise is rather nifty, I found it weird that there's nothing pre-'80s. This is especially odd because the '10s aren't even over yet but I digress. Each game can be customized using a set of basic options but by default, you'll answer a few questions then play a bonus round, repeat a few times, and work through the final round to see who wins. This may sound standard but each question goes on for far too long which makes each game feel drawn-out and tedious. Thankfully, the bonus rounds are more entertaining as they'll have you matching words, filling in letter blanks, and such in rapid succession but then it's back to more boring and protracted questions.
One mechanic that returns in Knowledge is Power: Decades is the Power Plays system. This basically allows you to use a power-up either against an opponent to try and mess with them or on yourself to boost your score or remove some incorrect answers. The thing is; most of these Power Plays don't do nearly enough to thwart your opponents. Some of them may as well not even exist they're so useless while others might halt someone for long enough to answer the question after everyone else which is handy but still not enough to add excitement to the gameplay. If anything, the Power Plays just make the game even more dragged out. Luckily, you can disable them entirely in the options menu but I would much rather have an interesting power-up system than nothing.
If Knowledge is Power: Decades featured interesting and challenging questions and more steadily-paced gameplay then it would have been a solid trivia game. Instead, it plays it way too safe and the end result offers nothing more than a standard quiz show.
- + Charming visuals and sound
- + Answering quick is rewarding
- + Bonus rounds can be fairly enjoyable / the decades theme is rather cool
- - Quiz questions are quite lame
- - Games are far too drawn-out
- - Power Plays are more annoying than fun and many of them don't do much at all