| iQuiz

iPod gaming looks set to get a whole lot more interesting in the months ahead. So far, there have been 12 games released on iTunes for the iPod, and while there has been some great ones, they've all been a bit... predictable.

That's to say they've all been either retro games (Tetris, Pac-Man), casual games from other platforms (Bejeweled, Zuma), or original games based on standard genres (Texas Hold'em, Sudoku).

That's fair enough, and a way sensible to build iPod's credibility as a gaming device. But it's about time we had some games truly designed to take advantage of the iPod's strengths. With that in mind, meet iQuiz.

Not only is iQuiz an ambitious first attempt to create a proper iPod game, but it costs just 79p, which should make it an essential purchase for any iTunes user.

At its simplest, iQuiz is a slick trivia offering covering music, movies and TV shows. It offers a host of multiple-choice questions, testing your knowledge of how many members there are in Slipknot, what Jay and Silent Bob do for a living in Clerks, and who played BA Baracus in The A-Team.

The questions can be a bit US-centric, particularly in the TV category, but it all works well, and there's some detailed records of your scores, which encourages repeat play.

That's just the start though. The Music Quiz 2 mode actually uses the songs stored on your iPod as the basis for questions. For example, it might play a snatch of a song and ask if it's on a certain album, or ask you if an album was released in 2002, or play a track and give four possible albums that it's from and get you to choose.

It's basically testing you on your collection of music, and the way it draws in the actual songs and artwork is rather marvellous.

There are bonus rounds that mix up the gameplay – for example presenting you with two album titles, and getting you to say which one a succession of tracks come from. And your progress is marked by accumulating virtual cash, which you can then wager on the bonus games.

Our only criticism of this mode is that often the questions do rely on you knowing what album individual songs come from. If you're an iTunes magpie like we are, cherrypicking individual songs rather than whole albums, then it can be a bit tough.

iQuiz's most innovative feature is the way you can actually create your own packs for the basic game, and then share them with friends and other internet users. To do it, you have to download the iQuiz Maker application from developer Aspyr's website. At the moment it's only available for Macs, but a PC version is on the way.

The application is easy to use, with you writing your own true/false and multiple choice questions, and tweaking the settings. Even if a relatively small number of iQuiz players download and use the app to create quizzes, many more will benefit by being able to download the results to their iPods.

For example, our criticism about the US-centric questions in iQuiz could be remedied by someone creating quizzes based on British bands or TV shows. As an early attempt for incorporating user-generated content into an iPod game, it's great.

Even if you don't use the interactive aspects, iQuiz represents superb value for money at just 79p. If you have a game-capable iPod, there really is no excuse for not buying it.

New here? Don't miss our reviews of every iPod game.


Slick music game with interactive features that make it a must-buy
Stuart Dredge
Stuart Dredge
Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)