Available On: PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii
Though many of the quiz games from the last decade or so can be very entertaining, it seems that most of the quiz game you'll find in the present day are rather generalised, even in spite of their sub-categories and specialist subjects. If you look at the most popular quiz games you'll see things like Trivial Pursuit, Buzz! from Sony and Microsoft's Scene It? taking centre stage. Nat Geo Quiz! Wild Life takes a significantly different path, specialising almost exclusively in matters of wildlife, nature, and geography. Though this console game may be a little too specialised for some of the more casual gamers out there, for those that love and appreciate true specialist knowledge and also the gorgeous photography of National Geographic this game is ideal.
To start with, one of the things that Nat Geo Quiz! Wild Life has going for it is its content, which is substantial to say the least. On purely numerical terms the game's got over 5000 questions pertaining to the natural world and geography; that's a fair bank of questions that will provide hour upon hour of brain-racking fun. Many of these questions are also either comprised or at very least make use of a database of around 2000 high-resolution images of the natural world as well as 90 minutes' worth of HD video clips (only for PS3 and Xbox 360 owners however - Nintendo Wii users can't take advantage of the higher definition), all from the archives at National Geographic.
This game is more than purely a substantial database of quiz questions, images, and videos however: it has a delightful range of modes that put these questions in some very entertaining formats, making full use of the content beyond simply presenting it as is. Of course you have the standard-format multiple choice questions across a wide range of subjects that make up the majority of the main quiz mode. The game also has other tricks up its sleeve however, including picture quiz games and mini-games like jig-saws and the solving of anagrams. The game's quizzes are all hugely accessible as well and excellent for both children and adults.
Of course you can play the game single-handedly - its anagrams and jig-saw puzzles are ideal for solo play - but the main point of quiz games in the first place is primarily to act as a focal point for a group of friends or family wanting to be entertained together; this quiz game is perfect for this purpose. The quiz supports up to four players wishing to play simultaneously and caters for all levels of knowledge: easy mode is great for children and the uninitiated; medium/hard mode is for adults or the specialists among you.
In terms of single-player entertainment, the modes mentioned above definitely cater for the majority of those wishing to play solo, but there are more modes to speak of. Quest mode is a section of the game that challenges you to answering ten questions correctly, each question or set of questions being on subject matters that in turn take you across the entire globe; the ultimate goal is to unlock additional locations on the in-game map so that you can explore them. If you want to simply look at the incredible photos that are used in the main quiz mode then you have Gallery Mode where you can do just that. If you've ever played Top Trumps there is also a mode that borrows heavily from its style.
The game's design, while not perfect by any means, is suitably polished and professional-looking and does the subject matter justice. If you've ever played games like Microsoft's Scene It? or Sony's Buzz! quiz then you'll already know the kind of format you can expect from Nat Geo Quiz! Wild Life, camp-sounding quizmaster and all. This game definitely caters for a narrower audience than many of the aforementioned rivals however: if you're not excited by the natural world or don't have much of an interest in specialist subjects then this may not be the first quiz game you should reach for to act as the centrepiece in your party.
You can't attack this game for being too specialist in approach however: its name tells you exactly what you're going to get in terms of content and to expect anything different would be foolish. This is a professionally designed game with stacks of content and the added edge of National Geographic's world-famous photographic and video archives. The latter feature will be the selling point for many, but this is a seriously good quiz for those serious about their quizzes.