Power Play (Arcana) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

Power Play
By Arcana
Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #37

Power Play

Power Play scores over the other question 'n answer games in that the game that accompanies it is a well-designed, enjoyable, chess-like challenge in its own right. The screen is colourful and the characters actually move around.

Pieces are moved by correctly answering questions. Their powers can be increased by landing on one of the mutation squares. It's graphically impressive, this bit - the piece goes into a twirl and comes out of it bigger and stronger.

Players begin with four pieces each - except when more than two people are playing when you get just two a piece.

What lets Power Play down by comparison to the other games is the quality of the questions. They lacked entertainment value. Dull, know-all-type questions that would not have been out of place in the Brain of Britain or University Challenge. The curiosity was just not raised at all by these.

The answering mechanism also left a bit to be desired. You are given four possible answers to the question - laid out in a cross formation. The answer you think is correct is selected by pushing the joystick in the appropriate direction - up, down, left or right. But you can't afford to ponder for two long as there is a very short time limit.

You need to get a question orrect to move your pieces. Answer incorrectly too often and your opponent will knock you off the board and win the game.

As well as 'mutating' into a stronger character you can also use certain squares as a random transporter, hopefully to get out of a tight spot or bring the challenge to your opponent. Challenging your opponent is the best part of the game, a quick-draw test of knowledge and speed. The first person to answer correctly wins the challenge.

Arcana have used the theme of the Ancient Gods as a scenario - the idea being that the Gods use the game of Power Play to end their constant bickering over who is the wisest and strongest amongst them.

If the questions are a little dull at least Power Play does have the saving grace of enabling you to add in your own questions. This is a really neat touch as all quiz games, especially the original Trivial Pursuit board game, suffer from 'memory erosion' - a condition where the players begin to remember the answers. As soon as this happens in Power Play, write some of your own.

Eugene Lacey

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