Reviewing apps is as thrilling for app testers as Christmas morning is for little children. Most applications reveal their true potential straight away, or at the very latest after one has used them a few times. I was excited about reviewing the quiz game Quisr—read on and find out whether or not the programme lives up to its full potential.
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Features & Use
Without a doubt Quisr has a lot going for it: the gameplay is gripping, the design is cool (more details about that in a bit) and it has a competitive element that will entice players to keep going for round after round.
Let’s start with taking a closer look at the gameplay. Test your brain power under time constraints in the ‘single player mode’; points are awarded every time you get an answer right. One major difference to other quiz games is that chez Quisr wrong answers don’t lead to game termination, but instead players receive a time punishment: the correct answer to the question that you got wrong is displayed for a few seconds, and during this time you are not able to answer any other questions.
A timer in the form of a time bar – which starts running out with each new question and refills with every correct answer given – is displayed on the screen. The rate at which the bar runs out increases with each new level. ‘Level-Up’ appears after every five to six questions. Which brings me to my first bone of contention: up until the seventh or eight level the changes in the speed at which time runs out aren’t very noticeable, but then it changes drastically and quite suddenly. The transition isn’t very smooth and the game becomes too challenging too suddenly.
There are two variants of the multiplayer mode: ‘classic’ and ‘multiple choice’. At the beginning of each round up to four players can select their buzzer colours. Once that’s done the game can commence. The difference between the two variants: in the classic mode possible answers to a given question are displayed and players must hit the buzzer when the right answer comes up. In the multiple choice mode you hit the buzzer when you think you know the right answer and must then select one (or several) of the optional answers. When you get a question wrong your opponents are awarded one point each… and when you get it right you score the point. I must say that I enjoy this variant the most—it calls for tactical thinking and I dig that kind of thing.
Another two things worth mentioning about the multiplayer mode: players can decide from which categories the questions should be drawn from. They can even create their own questions! So, for instance, you could get an impartial party to create questions in advance and then play a multiplayer round with questions related to Android or football. Second bone of contention: it would make sense to have an option to load entire sets of questions from the internet. At the moment it is only possible to enter individual questions.
Check out ‘myQuisr’: here you can create your own questions, have a look at other questions, compare highscores and see which country has the smartest players (on the day this review was written the top three countries were Poland, Belgium and Austria).
Quisr really does have the potential to keep players entertained for hours on end, but there are still a few weak points that prevent the app from getting a top rating.
Firstly, the singleplayer mode is too simple because the game doles out joker-like options much to liberally. Jokers should be little more than a sort of emergency solution, something that’s not readily available (and thus must be used strategically) because it will help when there’s no other way out. In Quisr's case there are three jokers: ‘50/50’, ‘Freeze’ (this stops the time with a nice little ice animation) and ‘Skip’. The problem is not the amount of jokers, but that they continuously regenerate every time a joker question is answered correctly. I was able to use the 50/50 joker five to six times in some games which just made everything much too simple and not challenging enough.
Secondly, the order in which the questions pop up is pretty random. Rather than start with easy questions and end a round with difficult questions, it may very well happen that a player is confronted with a tricky question from the get-go. (This is all contingent on the player’s general knowledge, of course). Couple this with the jolty transition of slow to fast decrease of time mentioned earlier and the result is not a very smooth game experience.
Lastly, I don’t like that it’s possible to amass a big amount of points at the beginning of a quiz. If it so happens that you start a round with three or four easy questions you can wind up with up to 2000 points in no time. Oddly enough, the more the game progresses and the bigger the time constraint becomes the smaller the amount of points awarded for correctly answered questions (200 if you’re lucky). While this might be done intentionally, it strikes me as being rather confusing for the player, because questions that are more difficult should be rewarded with more points…
Quisr, you are a difficult little blighter to contend with when it comes to giving you a fair rating. The game is great and the gameplay is truly enthralling. The multiplayer option guarantees a good time with the mates. And yet, I can’t bring myself to give Quisr a great rating. This is due to the singleplayer mode, which strikes me as being still somewhat premature. The issues mentioned above hold the game’s true potential from really shining through. By that I don’t mean to imply that Quisr is a crappy game—far from it! It’s a great game, truth be told, but it could do with more fine tuning.
NB: Quisr was given a three star rating in this category. Three stars = good, meaning the game is definitely worth checking out, especially if you are into quiz games.
If I could have my way I would give Quisr an overall rating of three stars, but because AndroidPIT considers the scores given in each category the overall result is only two stars.
Screen & Controls
The Quisr graphic design is very nice. It has an overall minimal look about it – what with its dark blue elements and white font – and the overall impression is good. The animations are nice, too. I’m looking forward to the version for tablets; I think the multiplayer variant will really be able to shine here.
There is, however, a major drawback in the singleplayer mode: when you hit the home button and then navigate back to the app you wind up in the main menu rather than resume the game. For realz: what’s up with that? At one point I was playing a really good round, interrupted the game briefly in order to answer an email and when I wanted to resume playing everything was gone. Honestly, Android is about multi-tasking and hopefully this glitch will be sorted out very rapidly.
Aside from this one (pretty major) issue Quisr makes a very good impression. Nevertheless, the final score is two stars, even if it seems harsh.
Speed & Stability
I tested Quisr on a CustomRoms which generally improves a game’s performance, but it didn’t run very smoothly. The loading times for myQuisr were significant and bothersome and there was a lot of lagging in both the singleplayer and multiplayer modes.
Our test phase lasted for five days and the app didn’t crash once, which is why Quisr is getting a good score in this category.
NB: Please notify me should you not experience any lagging; if the majority of you have positive experiences I will upgrade the score.
Quisr can be downloaded for EUR1,49 from the Android Market and the AndroidPIT App Center. A lite version is also available for those of you who want to try it out before diving it.