The Playlink Experience
I know this is surprising, but I have a lot of friends who don’t play games. I don’t know how this happened, but now we’ve been friends for so long it’d be awkward if I just disappeared due to their lack of gaming knowledge. Thankfully, with the creation of the Playlink system, I can now combine my love of my friends with my love of gaming in one excellent afternoon of fun.
The PlayLink is a system that aims to bring to life the idea of social gaming. Games shouldn’t just be for people who know their way around a controller- after all, fun is a universal concept. By using your smartphone or tablet as the controller, multiple people can experience games in a way they normally wouldn’t. Set Up for the titles couldn’t be easier, so even the most technology inept can play- simply put the game into the PS4, download the corresponding app on the phone or tablet and Bob’s your uncle!
I was given three awesome PlayLink titles to check out: Knowledge is Power, Singstar Celebration and Hidden Agenda, so I got some friends over and we sat down and played.
Knowledge is Power
Knowledge is Power is a fast-paced quiz game for 2-6 players. Anybody can get behind trivia style games, so this one is perfect for the whole family, and all your friends. The questions ranged from ‘no brainers’ to ‘I have no freaking idea’. The wide range of categories also keeps things different- we played two rounds of the game and were still being thrown new quiz categories to take part in.
The game also has a cool mechanic where you can hinder your opponent’s ability to answer as quickly and accurately as they’d like. As the game is about being the first to answer right (giving out points based on speed), having a clear shot at your answers is crucial. So, when you have to tap through layers of ice before your answer registers, or wipe away slime to reveal what the answers are, it makes things complicated (and a lot more fun).
Out of the three I played, Knowledge is Power is the most simple yet fun of the lot, and one I’ll be bringing out at parties.
What can I really say about a Singstar game? This PS4 exclusive takes all the great parts of other Singstar games and makes them more accessible than ever. Gone are the microphone peripherals that existed seemingly only to get lost or broken. Your smartphone is now your mic, your loungeroom your stage and your friends your backup singers (or adoring fans, whichever you prefer to believe).
Up to 8 people can sing along to over 30 pop classics, and you can sing alone or with a partner for that amazing dual harmony you just know you have.
The song list boasts classics and it really does deliver. Some of the songs are top 40 hits from recently that I’d never heard of (being the almost 30 hipster douchebag that I am) but there’s a range of bands and artists on there even the oldies would recognise, such as ABBA, U2 and Wham!
Hidden Agenda was put together by the same crew that made Until Dawn, and though it’s graphically brilliant and the story is really well done, I found this title to be a little hit and miss.
To begin with, my friends and I sat down and played competitive mode, which was…weird. The point of this mode is that every new story arc, someone is given a hidden agenda which they must complete, and it’s up to everybody else to stop them from doing that. But the hidden agendas are really mundane tasks like ‘make the main character speak to her boss about her problems’- something that you might want that character to do anyway. And other than points being handed out for people completing their agendas, completing them seems to be pretty inconsequential.
That being the said, the story is paced well and interesting, so I found myself genuinely getting invested in what was going to happen next. It is much slower paced than something like Knowledge is Power though, and more suited to a murder mystery night than a party. Unless you like your parties to be kinda slow and morose, in which case, go for your life.
My overall impressions of the PlayLink titles I played were really positive. All titles are only $25 which makes them a great price point for casual gamers, and because all your guests need is the corresponding app and a smartphone, it makes it so easy for anybody to sit down and have some fun, without all the cleanup and set up something like a board game would take. With Christmas coming up and family gatherings imminent, I highly recommend giving a game like Knowledge is Power or Singstar a go to liven up your day a bit. For extra entertainment wait until everybody is just the right amount of drunk, I guarantee you a very fun afternoon!