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Game Review: Nat Geo Challenge (PS3, Xbox360, Wii)

After the criminally ignored (albeit for some good reasons) Nat Geo Wildlife Quiz that came out last year, Black Bean return with Nat Geo Challenge which takes the Quiz game and tries to throw a bit of Risk strategy at it. It works to middling success and is generally an improvement over the previous title despite one glaring omission but we’ll get to that later.

The bulk of gameplay is done via the Quiz mode which is a straight up normal question and multiple choice answer mode and the new explorer mode. In this the world is divided into its continents and in each continent are six sections with various points. The game randomly dishes you out several to start with and then its up to you to capture as many territories as possible by answering questions on that part of the world you’re trying to win. Should you land on someone elses a puzzle battle commences and here’s where the game goes slightly askew. Some of the challenges are good twists such as the opponent chosing the question for the attacker to answer but others such as place three segments of a photo in the right places are just tedious. They’re tedious because the control system is unresponsive and clunky making these sections a real chore to get through. It spoils what is otherwise a solid quiz game with a neat little twist.

Elsewhere sees the return of jigsaw puzzles, new square puzzles (jigsaw only with all square blocks) and the most aggravating sliders known to man. There is a reason these games aren’t played anymore and that’s because they are infuriating frustrating. Thankfully this time round they aren’t included in the main game modes but you’ll need to complete them all if you want all your trophies and achievements. The other thing missing which was the best bit from Wildlife is Stat Attax. I can’t see why it couldn’t have made it over to this version.

Positives

~High quality videos and pictures from National Geographic

~Explorer mode is a genuinely good twist on the quiz genre

Negatives

~Jigsaw and slider controls are clunky, unresponsive and the sections are tedious

~The sound in-game sounds like cheap ten second midi files on a constant loop

~Some questions are the same just phrased differently

Conclusion

A general step forward for the Nat Geo series keeps it well ahead of the awful Scene It game but still behind Buzz! and You Don’t Know Jack in the fun and presentation department. Explorer mode is genuinely good fun however if you do enjoy your quiz games and it should be tracked down just for that.

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