April 11, 2018

Review: Tenable (iOS, Android)

Barnstorm Games’ newest game show adaptation game takes on the Tower of 10.

Without a doubt, Barnstorm Games is the best developer of digital game show video game adaptations currently working. With the disappointingly-designed and utterly ass-looking Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune games for PS4 and Xbox One, if you want great game show action on the go, you’ll have to turn to your friendly mobile app store, and with The Chase, Countdown, Perfection, and Tipping Point under their belts, Barnstorm is back again with their turn at Tenable.

The iOS show, hosted by Warwick Davis, has a team of five take on lists of ten items in different trivia categories. Each team member plays one list, and makes it to the final round if they correctly guess five items off the list. Past five correct answers, each answer adds more money to the final prize fund. If a player can fill in an entire 10-item list, they’ll add £25,000 to the prize fund. Fail to complete the list, and the player will be eliminated. The final round has all the players who made it through their round playing for the prize fund. Filling in the final board perfectly lets the team take their prize fund home.

How does the game play? Well, here’s me playing a full game:

One of the main differences between this game and the show is the multiple choice element. For the video game, 16 potential answers are given, of which 12 are correct. During the main game, 2 incorrect answers will knock you out of the round. I didn’t really feel like having a buffet of answers took anything away from the game—if I didn’t know much about the category (one list I had to play asked for the top 10 most populous cities in Spain) then I was thankful I could at least try to make some educated guesses instead of just sitting there not knowing what to type in. The lists are diverse and it seems at least a few have appeared on the show at some point, so astute viewers have an advantage.

The other game difference is that instead of the Overrule button the show uses, to allow a teammate to give an answer to the in-play contestant, there is a Nominate button where the app will suggest an answer for you. (The refreshing honesty of Barnstorm Games is reflected in their FAQ section in-game, under “Where is the Overrule button?” it says “We couldn’t think of a great way to include it in the App.”) You get three Nominations per game. Every time I’ve used the button, it’s given me a correct answer, but as the FAQs in the game say, “Just like the show, if you choose to Nominate, there’s no guarantee the answer will be correct.”

The game looks and sounds like the actual television show. The set lights up and interacts properly with the Tower, and as the board ascends to check each slot for answers, the suspensful-yet-daytime-appropriate musical hits play. (If you’re sick of the suspense, a quick tap of the screen fast-forwards through all the rigamarole.) Warwick Davis appears in the game as a disembodied voice providing guidance and reminding players of their status in the game, and appears on the title screen and in-game to provide extra tidbits of information.

Two single-player options include the Full game, where you play all 6 rounds of play, and a Solo Mode where you play one round at a time, accumulating points. Single-device multiplayer also exists, recreating the show for 2-5 players or a 2-player back and forth versus mode. The versus mode, while nice to have and quick to play, isn’t necessarily deep or engaging. The team game is well-thought out and plays great as well.

In this 1.0.0 release, I’ve noticed a few typographical errors in some facts, but no gaping issues in stability or any graphical glitches. As is standard for Barnstorm releases, there are options for buying additional question packs for Sport, TV and Film, and Music, but at the time of writing this, buying those questions packs won’t shuffle them into the main game as well.

Overall, this is a very solid port of the television program, and the quality of the application itself is, as per usual, top-notch. I’ve spent more than a few hours playing through the game and it’s been a blast. I wouldn’t complain if Barnstorm tried getting some more American licenses (they already ported The Chase over for GSN) and applying their magic to our side of the shores. Tenable is released today, and it’s available on iOS and Android devices. You can learn more and get your copy if you’re in the UK at TenableApp.com.

BuzzerBlog was provided a copy of the game from the developers for the purpose of this review.