Our next game show game arrives, and that’s all it does. It’s very plain, isn’t authentic and only has one Kinect feature. I’ll post the synopsis as always, but not everything that it mentions exists, anyway here it is:

You take the hot seat in the all new Who Wants to be a Millionaire video game. Win $1,000,000 by correctly answering 15 multiple choice questions, each worth an increasing amount of money. Just like on TV show, players can seek help for the super stumper questions via lifelines like “Ask the Audience”, “Double Dip” or “Phone a Friend”. Can you stand the pressure, or will you walk away? Who Wants To Be A Millionaire 2012 Edition features over 3000 randomized questions allowing players to either call out their answer as they would on the television show, or gesture with their hand to make their answer selection by using and the Xbox 360 Kinect. Players can also place themselves into the game by using their custom Xbox 360 avatar.

Overview

It’s a very basic game. You answer only 14 questions, win or lose and that’s it. The only cool thing is that it must have a large database for vocal recognition words, since it states there are 3000 questions (this I can’t confirm nor deny) but each question has 4 answers, so that’s 12,000 words and phrases it can detect which is the largest I believe out of the voice recognition games so far. I didn’t expect much from this game since it is just a quiz show, but what we received is less.

The Menu

The menu is very simplified, you have 2 ways of controlling it, either via the hover and lock method or by voice. Thankfully voice recognition works about 95-97% of the time, if other people are talking, forget about it, but if no one is talking it usually detects what you are saying. Your menu options consist of One Player, Two Player and Options. That’s it, I wish I was joking.

One Player

One player mode features voice recognition for mostly the game and the answers. Signing in with profiles and what not requires the regular Kinect menu gestures. Once you begin, you can sit down thankfully. There is no activity in this game, it’s just talking so it’s really easy on you. You are introduced to the game in a very basic method stating there’s 10 questions, with different amounts and it explains your two lifelines for Round 1. You can say skip intro and it will skip it thankfully, after about the 5th time, it gets annoying.

So for Round 1, there are 10 questions. Answer each correctly and you proceed. When you get to Round 2, there are 4 questions, complete all 4 and you become a virtual millionaire. That’s the game, really. This game will last you from about 10 seconds to maybe 15 minutes I clocked? The questions are great though, you get fun facts, learn new things, etc. There are only a few options during the game, in the first round, you have 2 lifelines that are “Jump The Question” lifelines, any question you miss, it’s game over. In round 2, you only have one lifeline, and that is the audience but the game mentions the audience is not always correct. You are given the option to walk away though in Round 2.

SPOILER ALERT! Here's the ending of the game!

I wish I had more to talk about the game modes, but that’s really all it is.

Two Player

Two player removes voice recognition and you both have to use the hover and lock menu to choose your answers. You both choose at the same time, there is a timer in this one, I’d guess 30 seconds, so you have to make a choice by then. Other than the 2 player simultaneous and voice recognition, it’s the same as one player. Maybe I’m wrong, but I remember something about Kinect being able to recognize up to 4 players voices? Why voice recognition was shafted for 2 players, wish I knew.

Authenticity

Since this is a game show, you would probably expect it to replicate the game show. Everything is weird with this game. I made a honey do list of the things that I didn’t find to match up. The current show has a $100, $500, $1000, $2000, $3000, $5000, $7000, $10000, $15000, and $25000 amounts. In this game, the $15k and $25k are swapped out with $8k and $9k, I couldn’t figure out why. Also speaking of the current show, the host is Meredith Vieira. This game has some guy who is unknown, just a regular voiceover and he really doesn’t talk it right.

In Round 1, the real show offers 4 options, answer the question, use the Jump The Question lifeline, use Ask The Audience lifeline or walkway. In this game, you can only answer or use Jump The Question lifeline.

After you answer each question, the game asks you if that is your final answer. Current fans of the show know you have to say “final answer” to lock it, why it’s like this, again I wish I knew, it detects everything you say so I’m not really sure why didn’t have “Final Answer” instead of “Yes”.

All prizes are cash prizes, I don’t recall seeing it, but apparently in the real rules, sometimes prizes are non-cash prizes, it would have added some flavor to the game.

In the real show, any lifelines you don’t use carry with you into Round 2. In the games Round 2, your lifelines from Round 1 do not carry over, and the only one you have is the audience.

Lastly, I’m pretty sure there’s a reasonable time limit in the real game show. This game doesn’t have one, which I found very strange as well.

Controls

There really are no controls, you can’t control your avatar at all, you just answer questions. Your avatar will make all kinds of odd gestures. Even if you win, you can’t celebrate, Kinect Sports kind of spoiled us with celebrating…

The voice recognition is really the only good thing about this game, it detects basically everything. I even had to pronounce some french name and I slandered it badly but it still knew what I wanted.

Also there are no real graphics to the game, it’s the same setting even with two player. The only additional graphics is when it changes to your avatar on one side and the question list/prize amount list on the other side. I made a video of two questions, the first I answered with voice which you can’t hear, but you can see it’s pretty responsive, and the second I used the normal method, this is literally the entire game.

Conclusion

This is the dullest Kinect title to date. I’m not even sure why this needed to be a Kinect title, it really degrades Kinect besides the voice recognition. Minute To Win It is still the best game show game that I have ever played, so they did kind of spoil us a lot if you’ve played it, but I tried really hard not to compare this game to it, since this is just quiz based. I am disappointed that Ubisoft would even put their name on this to be honest and I feel no effort or creativity was put into it at all.

They could have used the commercial idea that MTWI did to get you to use some motion, and this game really makes you realize it’s lacking a lot of previously used Kinect gestures. An idea could have been if they combined all of the seasons into one game as well, as when I watched it, I always remember the “Phone-A-Friend” feature, it would have been cool to pretend or even really “call” one of your Xbox live friends and talk to them to get an answer…really was it that hard to not add it? Mini-games could have been added, even a speed or survival mode that just has you try to answer as many questions in a row as possible and timed to compete with yourself or Xbox live friends, there could have been a lot added to it, that’s why I feel it lacks effort and creativity.

That article we posted about the planned South Park launch DLC as well? Yeah, that doesn’t exist yet, I don’t think it will, there is no hint of DLC or online compatibility with it. I’m really concerned that Price Is Right Decades is going to be another failure as well, which is due out soon, especially if no effort/creativity is put into it. I don’t know how to put this more bluntly, but these kinds of games should not be acceptable to anyone, speak up and fight back by not buying them, it really does work that way! This game should have been released as an Xbox Live Arcade title for 800 MSP to be fair.

Obviously, we all want to be millionaires but the question I ask is Who Wants To Pay $39.99 USD for this?


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
Scoring policy: What do these game review scores actually mean?