Developer: Screenlife
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

photo (2)The Scene It? franchise is hardly limited to your television set. It’s had numerous incarnations with different themes on different platforms, and the original Scene It? has finally arrived on the App Store! Phew. Now we don’t have to look at sparkly vampires to get our Scene It? fix. (Yes, Scene It? Twilight, I’m looking at you—why’d you come out before this one?) In Scene It? Movies, your knowledge of contemporary movies is tested through a lengthy string of trivia questions, which come in a myriad of forms. It’s fun and the variety of question types is great, but a lack of gameplay options and a limited number of questions and movies coupled with constant advertisements means that the fun wears off quickly.

You have two options in Scene It? Movies: a regular solo game or “Movie Pass.” In solo mode, the game fires a series of trivia questions at you. Not only do you have to get them right to earn points, but you also earn bonus points based on how long it takes you. (Now if only there was an integrated high score board…oh, well.) There really is a lot of variety when it comes to question types. Some are straight-up multiple choice, while others will ask you to put movies in order of release or to match different actors and actresses up based on who they played. Mini-games are present, too. In one, you have to find the “correct ticket” out of dozens on screen. In another, you have to guess the movie based on a kid’s sketch or a pixel-art animation. My favorite part is when the app plays a video clip and quizzes you mercilessly afterward—watching clips from favorite movies like Forest Gump is great, and the quality is excellent because they’re stored within the app.

The movies are relatively recent—mostly from the past decade or two. Paramount and Universal movies seem to be the only ones included. The variety is pretty good, but unfortunately it grows stale after a while as there’s a finite amount of content. While updates might bring more movies and questions in the future, I wouldn’t count on it; I’d expect Screenlife to release another themed app (ahem, Twilight) or DLC packs instead.

Can you guess? It's the Joker from he Dark Knight!

Can you guess? It's the Joker from the Dark Knight!

“Movie Pass” mode is a cross between solo mode and a game of hot potato. Yes, I’m serious, so you need to make sure your friends are either careful with your iDevice or that you’ve got a solid case for the thing. In this so-called multiplayer mode, players take turns holding your iPhone or iPod. When it’s your turn, you keep getting questions (similar to the ones in solo mode) until you get one right, at which point you pass it to the next player. A secret timer goes off “randomly,” and whoever’s holding the iDevice is out. Unfortunately, without anyway to see what the other person is answering, it’s not as fun in a group setting as the board game would be, and there are no options whatsoever. So, for example, if you’re playing with a huge group, the person in fourth or fifth place is likely to get knocked out just because the timer doesn’t vary that much. The game needs a better, more participatory multiplayer/party mode. Not only is the current one a bit lackluster, but some of us don’t like to risk our precious electronics in a game of hot potato!

Here’s my biggest gripe of all, however: the constant push to buy the featured movies, either through Amazon or iTunes. This wouldn’t annoy me normally (hey, advertising is everywhere, folks) but the “Buy Movie” button is exactly where you think the “go to next question” button should be. A banner ad or two would be fine, but having the constant trick there for every single question gets annoying.

Scene It? Movies is actually a decent port of the franchise. The format translates well, and many of the questions take advantage of the iPhone’s unique characteristics. But I just couldn’t get into it. Without a group of friends to enjoy the game with (and by “enjoy” I don’t mean throwing my iPod at each other), it just isn’t as fun. Besides that, having to constantly remind myself to NOT push the “Buy Movie” button was annoying, and the questions themselves get old after a few playthroughs, even if there’s a good amount of data bundled with the app. Fans of the franchise will probably have a lot of fun, but other will find that the shine quickly wears away.

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