Friday, December 21, 2007

Chris Reviews AnswerThat!

Digital Praise's latest release of Answer That! Adventures in Odyssey Edition invites fans of all ages to test their knowledge of the show with questions ranging from easy to difficult. Modeled after the popular "Scene It" DVD trivia series, Answer That! challenges players to answer questions from the video series, audio clips, and trivia cards. Although it has a limited appeal to the hardcore Odyssey fan, Answer That! offers a good deal of entertainment for the average fan or those new to the show.


I was pleasantly surprised with the board game design. The ability to play on four different paths was an added bonus that many will appreciate. Answer That! included four plastic player pieces which I thought were rather flimsy, but I did like the stickers you could affix onto the pieces. Whit, Eugene, and Connie made sense... and Tamika? She's not exactly one of the most popular characters, but at least she's one of the current characters. Someone like Tom, Bernard, or Katrina might have made more sense, since fans are more familiar with what they look like.


The game board consists of seven different types of spaces:

Eugenius tests your knowledge of Odyssey history and characters
Connie's Character Quotes dares you to finish quotes
Whit's Wisdom challenges you to answer Bible trivia
Room of Consequence sends you to a different spot on the board
My Play is an on-screen question for the rolling player
All Play is an on-screen question for all players
You Choose gives you the choice to select any of the above six options

As mentioned earlier, there are four different paths you can choose: two short paths, one medium path, and one long path. However, playing the short or medium paths will present some noticeable problems for players who have a good knowledge of Odyssey. Because the game allows players to take unlimited turns provided they answer each question correctly, a player could theoretically win the game in only a few moves. One of the problems I found with the Room of Consequence (ROC) was the ambiguity in the instructions. The rules seemed to indicate players could answer the question from the space to which they were directed from the ROC cards, but never provided specific details on when the player's turn ended. In my opinion, ROC cards should force players to end their turn after they've moved (either forward, backwards, or swap positions).

My biggest concern from the start was whether or not the trivia questions would be difficult enough. Digital Praise, thankfully, got it right when they chose to create double-sided trivia cards. One side lists Easy questions, while the opposite side shows Difficult questions. Those who have listened to most of the episodes will probably not see much difference, although there are definitely a handful of harder questions included on some of the cards.

Just as there are an assortment of questions in the trivia cards ranging from easy to (somewhat) difficult, so too do the on-screen questions offer a variety of challenges. Many of the DVD questions were in the Picture This category, which involves the identification of a particular location, episode, or character. Occasionally, the picture displayed would be from album artwork, but I found that too many of the images were from the video or book series. On the other hand, I particularly enjoyed the Chrono-Logic (placing four events in order) and Guess Who (guessing who is being described) categories. Of the seven categories offered in the DVD, those two offered the highest level of difficulty for episode-related questions.

A similarly fun category was In Your Ear, in which the question would be based off an audio clip from the radio series. It really made me want to listen to the episodes again, especially when they played clips from old or favorite shows. The only disappointment was that most of the audio clips gave you the answer in the actual clip. So instead of testing your Odyssey knowledge, it would simply test your listening capability. Admittedly, it would have been nice also if they had included more of the radio series clips, since the audio drama comprises such a large portion of Adventures in Odyssey!

Lasting Appeal

Answer That! boasts over 1000 trivia questions, half of which are on the trivia cards while the other half are on-screen questions. Unfortunately, the DVD does not offer the individual game feature which some Scene It and Trivial Pursuit DVD games include. As a result, don't be surprised if you get the same question more than once. In fact, on a few occasions, we received the exact same question in a row and during the same game! To the designers' credit, you can press the return button on your DVD remote to bypass repeat questions and automatically get a new one. For younger fans and those relatively new to Adventures in Odyssey, Answer That! will be a game which they can continue to enjoy for a long time. Older and long-time fans of the show, however, may quickly tire of the game and its lack of difficulty.


AnswerThat! is a fun and innovative game... and it's all about Adventures in Odyssey! In the end, determining the overall value of the game is highly dependent upon your knowledge of the radio series. If you are a casual fan and haven't listened to all the episodes, then you'll probably enjoy this game the most. If you are a die-hard fan and have listened to nearly every episode, however, then you may be disappointed. While Digitial Praise catered to the non-Odyssey fan by including many questions that could be answered by the casual or non-listener, perhaps they could have spent more time developing more difficult questions.

I found it very interesting that they included the following in their summer press release: "However, even if players haven't had any exposure to Adventures in Odyssey, they'll be able to answer many questions thanks to on-screen audio and video 'hints' -- a key to the game's multi-generational appeal." It doesn't seem like players who haven't had any exposure to Adventures would be interested in the game in the first place. Although it made sense from a marketing standpoint to widen the target range of their prospective customers, I don't know if it was the smartest move to make the game so easy considering most of the people purchasing Answer That! would have to be pretty big Odyssey fans to make the $40-$50 investment. Nevertheless, in spite of its flaws, Answer That! remains in my eyes a fun family DVD trivia game!

- Ability to choose length of play: short, medium, or long
- Lightning Play version on DVD
- New fans to Odyssey can participate
- Audio clips from the radio series, movie scenes from the video series

- Playing pieces are easily breakable
- Lack of separate games on the DVD (different questions per game)
- Many of the trivia card and on-screen questions are too easy
- Not enough clips from the radio series

Presentation: 4/5
Gameplay: 3/5
Lasting Appeal: 3/5
Overall Rating (not an average): 3.5/5