Powerplay describes itself as the game of the Gods.
Most people would automatically take that as a piece of biblical blasphemy on behalf of some PR person trying to imply that the great one himself spends his rainy afternoons playing this game. That is not the case. By 'Game of the Gods', Players actually mean the game played by the Greek Gods, ages and ages ago, up on Mount Olympus, simply because they had nothing better to do.
You know the game I mean. The strange chessboard with the real life people as pieces, a little like the game played by Chewbacca and C3-PO on board the Millenium Falcon in Star Wars.
The basic aim is to try to win control of the board by successfully removing all your opponent's pieces. To do this, you have to answer some trivia questions. Oh no! not another Trivial Pursuit! Aaargh!
Well, OK, maybe it is a little bit Trivial, but it's a lot more fun than the former could ever be. Two to four players are gathered round a square board, divided into 100 tiles, each one shaded any of four patterns. The reason will become clear later.
Each player has an army in one of the corners. Well, by an army, I mean four characters; three Hercules and a Cyclops. Before I go on, I might as well explain the ranking system. There are four ranks in the game, going from Hercules (bottom) through to Cyclops, Minotaur and finally Satyr. The whole point behind gaining rank is so that you can live longer. More later.
As I was saying, each character starts with three Hercules and a Minotaur, and each player can move one character per turn.
Before a character can be moved, he has to answer a Trivia question. The type of question depends on which tile he's standing on. A plain tile denotes a general knowledge question, a solid black tile denotes history and geography, a check tile is science and technology and a striped tile is sport and leisure. The question is displayed along with four possible answers. The player has to decide which is correct and press the appropriate button in the time limit provided. What level of question you get is completely random. (Though more often than not, it's ridiculously easy). Should the character answer the question right, he is awarded a number of wisdom points and is then allowed to move in any of the eight directions.
Should a character accumulate 25 wisdom points, then he is allowed to mutate to the next rank. If he chooses to do so, then he spins in a dizzying manner, his wisdom points are returned to zero, and when he stops rotating, he's the next rank up.
The whole point of rank comes when challenging an enemy piece. When you are given the option to move, after correctly answering a question, you can challenge any enemy pieces adjacent to you by trying to move onto the square they're occupying. The computer gives you a random question, and the two players involved have to try to press the right button to answer the question. If one player answers incorrectly, or the other player answers first, then that player goes down one rank. Should that player already be bottom rank, then they are destroyed and removed from the game permanently. Now you see the importance of getting rank.
The graphics are fab. Large and detailed, each character is both recognisable and distinctive. The forced perspective works well and the animation is first rate. I like the way your man leaps up and down when you are selecting your player as if to say 'pick me, pick me'.
Powerplay. Not just another trivia game. A well wicked budget game. Be a devil (snigger), go out and get the Game of the Gods it's just like heaven (titter). (Tony, cut out the God-related puns now! - GT ELVJ very own Odin.)
Author: Andy Severn, Colin Swinbourne
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
A nice mix of trivia and Greek mythology. A snip at the price.