It's the time of year when many us will be gathering in the family homestead to eat, drink and be slightly bored. Part of the annual ritual is the inevitable breaking out of those classic board games. There's that old Scrabble set with the missing Qs (a blessing in disguise for the barely literate among us), the Monopoly board that always seems to bring out the ruthless fat-cat in the usually mild-mannered Uncle Nigel; and of course there's Trivial Pursuit.
It's the great leveller, the one we can all agree to play. It requires neither the exhausting commitment of Monopoly, nor the Carol Vorderman-esque mental agility demanded of our sherry-addled minds by Scrabble. And unlike Twister, your grandparents can join in.
Trivial Pursuit works because it's a beautifully simple, straightforward test of head knowledge. What's more, it's supremely inclusive. The six distinct subject categories are designed to make a specialist out of each member of the familial generational spectrum. And so it comes as no surprise to see Trivial Pursuit: Deluxe Edition released on our mobiles promising to sharpen up our general knowledge in preparation for the family showdown.
With such a simple concept it was never going to be too hard a job to port across the key elements of the original board game. Sure enough, as with its predecessors, this is a faithful version. There are segments to collect in your, er, segment holder, and a suitably colourful representation of the board itself to make your way around.
As before, answers are multiple choice – an unavoidable concession to the electronic format.
On the flip side the developers have wisely played to the strengths of the format, adding in a few extras for demanding mobile gamers. As well as the straightforward Classic mode which we're all familiar with (including multiplayer for up to six players), there's Time Attack and Survival modes.
Time Attack introduces a time limit to your answer, as well as five lives in which to complete the game. Answer a question incorrectly or take too long over one and you'll lose one of your lives.
Survival mode takes this same five-life dynamic and strips away everything but the questions. You have to answer as many consecutive questions correctly before your lives run out. It's the simplest mode available, and perhaps the one most suited to the mobile format.
Regardless of this choice of modes, the core Trivial Pursuit gameplay remains the same, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
The only real concern we have with the game is one faced by any would-be board game-to-videogame conversion - namely that the electronic iteration will always lack the tactile appeal inherent to the original. We want to spin that spinner on the Game of Life, to feel the Scrabble letters in our hands and to throw a whole bunch of Monopoly money in air whilst shouting "I'm rich! I'm rich!" Okay, maybe we're alone with that last one, but really Trivial Pursuit is no different.
Yet, aside from this, RealArcade has continued its fine work in bringing the essence of Trivial Pursuit to the mobile, and we were impressed that we had no repeat questions after several hours worth of play. The nature of the game really lends itself to bite sized chunks rather than any protracted passages of play anyhow. Repetitions will occur, but not before you've had your fill of quiz action.
So as a way to while away the journey home this festive period you could do a lot worse than Trivial Pursuit: Deluxe Edition. It's well presented and really quite good fun to play through, especially in multiplayer. When it comes down to it though, after the Queen's speech, there really is no substitute for the real thing.