When it comes to party games that let people use their own smart device to play, Jackbox has been the go-to name for a few years now. There have been some excellent alternatives though, like Sony’s PlayStation exclusive That’s You and the movie-dubbing game What The Dub?! by Wide Right Interactive. RiffTrax: The Game is a successor of sorts to that last one, so we tested it through both Steam and a PlayStation 4.
If you’ve played What The Dub?!, then you’ll be familiar with its simple gameplay premise: you and the other players are shown a short clip from a movie, after which you “fill in the blanks” by adding what one of the characters is going to say next. You then see everyone’s new clips with a synthesized voice delivering the lines, while a round concludes with players voting for the best/funniest version they’ve seen.
While it’s a different format this time around, RiffTrax: The Game feels very similar in nature, and will likely appeal to the same audience. You once again get a big library of (often obscure) movie clips to add your own witty remarks to, only this time the gameplay has a tie-in to RiffTrax, a comedic show in which Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett comment (“riff”) on movie clips – much like you’ll be doing here.
The difference, as I’m sure you’ve inferred by now, is that you’re not just ad-libbing lines in the scene, you’re making fun of what you’re seeing, a bit like a party game version of Statler and Waldorf. That may not (immediately) be everyone’s cup of tea as some players are naturally a bit more reserved, so it’s nice that RiffTrax: The Game also offers a mode in which you merely select pre-defined answers. As an added touch, they aren’t delivered by the generic synthesized voice either – these are done by the original RiffTrax team.
With the right players, making your own riffs is the best way to play – and our experience is that things get better over time as players get the hang of things and feel less reserved about what you can put, going for complete randomness rather than a safe/obvious answer. You can play with up to six players at once, which we consider to be a good maximum number since you’ll have to watch everyone’s clip before voting. And while the text to speech deliveries work quite well, we wouldn’t want to watch a dozen versions of the same clip, and thought that playing with four players was the sweet spot for this one – though you can also stream your games and your audience votes on the clips too.
The selection of movie clips is incredibly random and obscure, which plays to the game’s strength but also constitutes a weakness. Not having much context means you’re not inhibited by knowledge of the rest of the scene or movie, since you likely haven’t seen it. This means answers can go in all different directions, often with hilarious results. On the downside, it sure would have been great to do the same with a few big name movies or a few massive flops from Hollywood, but we understand that licensing doesn’t make that easy and that would affect the game’s price point as well.
As it stands, RiffTrax: The Game is competitively priced against other games in the genre, with a big library of clips that don’t repeat anytime soon. Fans of the RiffTrax show will be instantly engaged, but you don’t need to be a movie buff or enthusiast to have fun with this one – with its bring your own device mechanics and accessible gameplay, this is an excellent party game that can be enjoyed by any group of friends with a like-minded sense of humor.