YOU DON'T KNOW JACK HD ($4.99) by Jellyvision Games is the latest in a series of established hit game titles to find their way to iOS. It has been everything from a cross-platform video game, to a board game, and even briefly, a TV show.
YDKJ (You Don’t Know Jack) mashes traditional trivia gaming with game-show schmaltz and comes up with a winning concept.
If you are a fan of the game, you’ve probably already scooped this up. But, if you don't know Jack, here’s the deal.
Game show host Cookie Masterson, who fans will recognize, hosts an over the top mixture of pop culture factoids with real brain benders. The result is a one of a kind trivia game experience that’s as close to an MTV or PBS quiz show that most of us will ever get.
The game is divided into three rounds. The first five questions are clever compilations. They mix pop culture stars-of –the-minute like Rebecca Black whose auto-tuned video “Friday” has earned her YouTube ignominy with the likes of Lady Macbeth and actually gives you pause for thought.
The faster you get a correct answer the more money you win, a wrong answer has the reverse effect.
Round two is essentially the same, but the stakes are doubled.
A gameplay element imported from the more robust console and PC/Mac versions of the game, DisOrDat, appears once per game. The object is to determine which of the seven words that flash by belong to which category. For example, Cake the Food or Cake the Band, Questions: Lava, Nugget etc.
The last round is more about reflexes than smarts. It’s called Jack Attack. You are given a theme and then one word is placed in the center of a vortex and you have to tap when the related word pops up, but before it is sucked away. Check out the demo:
The gameplay is well executed and the animations, sound effects and narration are all very clever, but at $4.99 for HD and $2.99 for iPhone, I am concerned about replay value.
There’s Game Center integration and achievements, but you only get 20 episodes. Frequent content updates are promised, and will be necessary to keep the game fresh; Liz Taylor jokes have a short expiration date.
But, even from episode to episode there is a lot of repetition, not of questions, but visually and in tone. There is no way to skip the morsels of cheeky jocularity if they wear thin.
The biggest drawback is the lack of multiplayer options. This is a party game, with no real way to party. That’s a serious flaw. But, I can’t imagine it won’t follow in an update, as this game is poised to be a massive hit and that is the chief user complaint.
If you already love YDKJ, get it. If you don’t know it, you need to ask yourself how much game show you can take with your trivia.
If witty banter from flippant hosts makes your teeth hurt, YDKJ will send you to the dentist.
But if you enjoy irreverent TV quiz shows, you’ll love You Don’t Know Jack. It’s genuinely laugh out loud funny, yet not for the intellectually timid. It is certainly more clever than the best of TV’s current offerings.
Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.