Scene It? Box Office Smash! Xbox 360
Published by: Microsoft Game Studios
Developed by: Screenlife Games
Every console needs a solid quiz game and Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action! certainly seems to have been that when it was released last year. Just in time for Christmas the series returns with Scene It? Box Office Smash and it's a fine follow up, although it's not without its problems for deaf gamers. The game can be purchased with or without the Scene It? controllers but it can also be played without the controllers (something I feel should be applauded), if don't feel like cluttering up your living room with even more controllers.
As you can probably tell from the title, Scene It? Box Office Smash will test your knowledge of the movies. There are many different puzzle types in the game, most of them are very enjoyable, ranging from having to unscramble anagrams to find the name of an actor or movie to watching movie clips and having to answer questions on the movie clip or other details to do with that movie clip. Up to four players can take part and choose from four possible answers. You're rewarded for answering questions as quickly as possible and the amount of points you can gain from a correct answer begins to decrease from the moment the question has been presented to you. You can either play a short, long or custom game. In the custom game you can tailor the game to your liking including the option to select a single player experience and a continuous mode.
There were two major complaints with Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action! Firstly the game offered no online play and secondly there was a limitation on having four players. The bad news is that there is still a maximum of four players. The good news is that online play is supported in Box Office Smash, and it works absolutely fine, meaning you're no longer confined to simply playing the game with those sitting next to you on the couch. One of the main problems with quiz games is that they can be tedious to play on your own so the addition of online play means you've always got opponents waiting to take you on when no one in your household is interested in playing.
For the most part, I was actually quite impressed with how Scene It? Box Office Smash is presented. The game has a much cleaner presentation than the Buzz! games and doesn't attempt to look like some kind of faux quiz show. I particularly like how the various puzzle types are presented, in particular the Sketches challenges where you have to guess the movie title from the sketch that's being drawn before your very eyes. The game allows you to use your avatar characters so you don't have to put up with some freaky looking characters. The load times were short and at no time was I left hanging around between rounds which is certainly pleasing.
As enjoyable as Scene It? Box Office Smash is, there are some major problems for deaf gamers that pretty much render it a game that deaf gamers should avoid if they don't want a frustrating gaming experience. The game isn't subtitled and this means that you won't be aware of the presenter's speech and, more importantly, all of the film clips you watch aren't subtitled. Missing out on what the presenter says isn't much of a problem to be honest but not having access to the dialogue in the film clips can be disastrous. You are shown a film clip and then given questions on the clip, the actors in the clip or other people who are something to do with the film. Some questions ask you what was said or how many times something was said. Without subtitles it's impossible to answer the question, so you'll simply have to guess and pick one of the four available answers (unless you know the film really well and have watched a subtitled version of it before). Some questions are about songs, and the lyrics to certain songs, that make up the movie's soundtrack and once again it's unlikely that deaf gamers will be able to answer these questions. There are even questions that require you to listen to sound clips which are completely unsuitable. Unfortunately then Scene It? Box Office Smash is far from being an ideal experience for deaf gamers.
Scene It? Box Office Smash is certainly one of the better quiz games I've seen to date and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the game to hearing gamers who were looking for a quiz game to play on their Xbox 360. However, the job of this review is not to look at the game from a hearing person's perspective and it has to be said that it's far from ideal for a deaf gamer. If it were just the presenter's voice that wasn't subtitled it wouldn't be much of a problem but with the film clips not being subtitled, it can present deaf gamers with some major obstacles and reduce the task of answering questions to guess work which isn't satisfactory. Questions which require you to listen to a sound clip are also useless for deaf gamers. In fact, as good as Scene It? Box Office Smash is, it's not a game that is accessible to deaf gamers.