Knowledge is Power

Everybody has a smart phone. There is an app for everything, from social media, to banking, and even Microsoft Office. One of the untapped markets for phones is as a controller for video games.  The Playstation 4 exclusive Play Link game series—of which the new game Knowledge is Power is part of—looks to change all that.

The overall king of these phone controlled games is the three installments of The Jackbox Party Pack; bundles of mostly different trivia games that have taken the world by storm. Will Knowledge is Power be a strong enough contender to stand with the top of the genre?

GAME PLAY: Trivia without the Fluff

Knowledge is Power is a trivia game. Players choose characters and then compete in three rounds of three questions and a lightning round where players have a limited amount of time to match answers that belong together. The three rounds of normal questions have players earning a score tallied by quick and accurate answers—the faster the player answers the question correctly, the higher the final score for the round. At the last round, the player’s score determines their position on the final pyramid, a series of rapid fire questions where quick and accurate answers determine how far the players climb the ladder. The game ends when one of the players reaches the top of the pyramid, the winner gaining a scroll with a tidbit of information to use the next time the player needs to wow friends or family with trivia.

Before each normal round and each round of the final pyramid players are able to utilize a Power Play, a series of powers designed to slow down the other players. The more players that are playing, the more strategic the Power Plays become.

Before each round, players have the choice of three categories of questions represented as doors. Knowledge is Power, being a video game, has many categories skewed toward video games, movies, and television, but there are quite a few normal trivia categories.

Knowledge is Power Grand Finale
Climb the Pyramid, Win the Prize.

CONTROL: The Phone is Your Controller

Knowledge is Power is a game that uses each player’s mobile device to control the game. This is not a new concept, but still a novel one. The setup is easy, each player must download an app from their mobile device store and ensure that the PS4 and all the mobile devices are all connected to the same Wi-Fi network. If a Wi-Fi network is not available, Knowledge is Power uses a little known PS4 feature, the ability of the PS4 to become its own Wi-Fi network.

Players start by taking a selfie with a snapchat like filter that causes the player to look like the character they have chosen. This photo then takes its place beside the score on the bottom of the screen. Each question, from choosing the categories, to the Power Play, and finally the actual answers (and dealing with any Power Plays that have been imposed on the player) are handled in the app.

Controlling games like this is great because more people can play than wireless controllers able to be supported by the PS4. Using mobile devices as the controller ensures that by using something that everybody has in their pockets allows for everyone (up to six for Knowledge is Power) to have a controller.

The one downside to Knowledge is Power’s controller solution is the necessity for everyone to download an app. Jackbox is so successful because it uses a website which allows for anybody with a room code to join in worldwide. Knowledge is Power forces players to have an app that is connected to the same Wi-Fi network, effectively ending any streaming popularity it could have had.

GRAPHICS: The Book of Knowledge

Knowledge is Power is dripping with stylized animations, influenced obviously by the movie Book of Life from a couple of years ago indicated by the art style of the characters. The characters themselves are colorful, wacky, and over the top; ranging from a goth girl with fairy wings, an aristocratic lady with huge lips and huge hair, and a weird cross of a clown and a leprechaun.

All of the backgrounds, characters, and minor details all mesh well with each other; leading to a highly coherent and whimsical experience. The foreground is bright and colorful, covered in shades of red, green, and blue which pops due to the cream colored backgrounds. With all of these colors, it draws the players eyes to the most important aspect, the gameplay. The app is also so much more interesting to use than just a flat color with a boring list of choices. This ensures that the experience from start to finish feels top notch and not cheap. This game is a joy to see.

Knowledge is Power
The Character Models Look Right out of Book of Life

PRICE: Not Enough Content to Justify the Price

Knowledge is Power is $19.99 for both the physical and digital copies. When I was looking up the price on the PSN store, I told my wife that the most that I would pay for it would’ve been maybe $15. My jaw dropped when I saw $20 (USD). I feel that the amount of content does not justify that price.

There are a couple of steps that could have been taken to reduce the price, or make the price easier to take. Maybe the price could’ve been worth it if there were some extra modes added, like maybe a no Power Play Mode or lightning round mode. The price could’ve been reduced if there was no physical copy. I think that in the long run, Knowledge is Power is going to be hamstrung by the price. It will be interesting to see if sales increase if there is ever a sale during a PSN flash sale.

CONCLUSION: A Great Trivia Game with Some Things Holding It Back

Knowledge is Power is a blast! The people that I played with had a lot of fun while playing. The questions are well written and interesting. The art style and graphics are a joy to behold and mesh well with the gameplay; leading to a game that you and your friends can play for a long time. Unfortunately, there are some things that can’t be overlooked.

Hindered by its price and forcing players to be in the same room, Knowledge is Power falls short to the Jackbox Party Pack. Knowledge is Power is only $10 less for way less content, and is impossible to play with anybody out of the range of the Wi-Fi. Even though Knowledge is Power is more visually appealing, it falls short in the areas mentioned above.

Would I recommend it? Yes! But if I was in your shoes I would wait for a sale unless you regularly host large parties. As it stands, Knowledge is Power is a fun for the whole family trivia game with a high novelty value.
Buy it Here! 

Great Graphics
Interesting Questions
Phone App Works Well
Power Plays Change the Game
Price Slightly Too High
App Hinders the Number of Players

Review Summary

Knowledge is Power is a blast! The people that I played it with had a lot of fun when we were playing. The questions are well written and interesting. The art style and graphics are a joy to behold and mesh well with the gameplay leading to a game that you and your friends can play for a long time. Unfortunately, there are some things that must be overlooked.

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