U Host is a new quiz game from developers Bear Box Media, where you play the host of your very own quiz show.
The game uses a simple premise to deliver a fully customizable experience. As the host, you create your own quiz show by wielding the GamePad to choose the number of rounds, penalties, categories, questions, and even minigames. Despite it’s simple appearance, the game makes excellent use of the Wii U’s unique controller – perhaps the best use of the GamePad we’ve seen in some time.
It’s obvious that the team behind U Host is very passionate, with a lot of time and effort going into the creation of the menu system and touch screen controls. It’s been in development for some time, and it shows. As the host, the GamePad is your robust toolkit, with an absolute ton of features and so many options that you’ll be messing with the features for a long time.
Want to change someone’s name mid-round? Done. Does a player need to quit? Done. Want to change categories during a round? Done. Start with true or false questions, then multiple choice questions? How about penalties, or changing the penalties mid-game? How about showing or hiding the answers from the host too? Done, done and done. The possible combinations are almost endless.
On the downside, there are a few areas that are buggy, or don’t make sense. For example, it’s fun to change players’ names mid-way through a game to teach them a lesson, and you can remove players (or ‘kick’ them) from the game, but you probably shouldn’t be able to kick them all out – it doesn’t quit or even warn you, so the game just waits until you manually quit. You can’t add players during the game either, which seems like a missed opportunity.
Another annoyance is the time between when a player buzzes and when the host selects the answer – a purely human delay and an inconvenient side-effect of the amazingly detailed menu. When someone thinks they know the answer, they can buzz on another controller or just call out. At this point the host taps the “buzz screen” button. Then the name of the contestant. Then the answer. Then another button to confirm the selection. It’s just a tiny bit clumsy and detracts from the fast-paced nature of the game.
On the plus side, the game is full of content. It comes pre-loaded with over 1000 questions from 10 categories. As if that weren’t enough, the best part of U Host is that you can create your own questions. It’s easy to do, but you’ll want to spend some time setting up your questions before your guests arrive, if you plan to make a whole night of it. And it can be quite fun with the right group of people.
Although the game could benefit from a little more excitement in the looks department, the simple style is fine and non-offensive overall, with clear instructions and a blue theme. The sound is decent too, with a nice, easy melody in the background, without being too distracting. A minor gripe is the loading times, which border on too long when initially starting a game. However, once your quiz has started, there are no loading delays.
In addition to the quiz show, there are nine minigames included, such as a balancing game that’s too easy and an egg toss game that’s hilarious but silly. They’re definitely a nice bonus, and fun for a change of pace, but unlikely to be played often once you’ve tried them all. The real star of the game is definitely the quiz and thankfully this part is done well.
The price point is about right too at $9.99, given the potential for hours of fun. You will need friends to play with of course, though you can play on your own by hiding the answers. As you can probably imagine, it’s nowhere near as much fun.
A lot of love has gone into this game and it shows. With a few tweaks, this could be something fantastic, but as it is, U Host is a fun and highly customizable way to spend an evening with friends.
PN Review: U Host (Wii U eShop)
If you miss playing board games, give this a go for a fun way to spend quality time with family or friends. It’s not perfect, but it’s fun and robust, with an amazing amount of customization for setting up and hosting your own quiz show.