Party games have been going out of fashion as of late, or at least in comparison to how popular they once were. Awkward aims to not only reignite interest, but throw the concept on its head. Now before we begin, let me tell you, if you’re looking for a game that’s going to make you and your nearest and dearest laugh, Awkward may not be for you. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but it’s designed to cause, well, awkwardness. The game allows you to play by all by yourself, play as a couple, or play as a group of three or more friends.
Developer Snap Finger Click feeds you into the experience by pointing out that this game was banned at the end of the 1800’s by the government, due to an increase in fighting, divorces and family feuds. Perhaps a repeat ban would help, given that this puts a tension in the atmosphere that a diamond-edged chainsaw would have trouble cutting. By and large, Awkward is a game that serves itself as the ultimate test on finding out how well you know your friends, your lovers and your families, “finding out” being heavily emphasized.
Awkward features innovative streaming technology which lets up to 500,000 concurrent viewers play along in your broadcast on Mixer or YouTube, so it’s clearly got some kick to it, that’s for sure. In any case, it’s a cruel game. Fun, but cruel. The aim of the game couldn’t be any simpler if it tried to be. Though, it does a good job at explaining exactly what you’re expected to do. Players will need to answer all of their questions truthfully while their opposition will need to guess their answers. That sounds simple enough, right? Wrong!
Best case scenario? Your friends/families/lovers will still be talking to you by the end of the night. The game supports up to six people in the same session and you’re able to either partner up or go at it solo, depending on player count and mode. Single-player on the other hand has you answering questions against the world. The UI and menus are clean and the game wastes no time at throwing you into the fray, that is, once you have your player count and have entered your sexuality, your names and your relationship to the other players.
There’s over five thousand questions punched into the game, so the chances of getting a repeat question remains slim. It’s not as impressive as ‘It’s Quiz Time’ but still impressive nevertheless. One interesting addition is that some of the questions have been written by Danny Gallagher, yes, the chap that also wrote questions for Quiplash and Fibbage 2. On top of that, Joanna Haslam has been roped in too, who is known for adding questions to games such as Buzz! Make of that what you will ladies and gentlemen, make of that what you will.
I took to the game with my partner, Helen, who I love unconditionally might I add. The questions started out fairly innocently until we got hit with “if one person was to cheat, who would do it?” and were forced to answer which of the two of us would do it. Put yourselves in that position for a moment. Do you question your lovers commitment by suggesting they would? Or do you jump on the grenade and put yourselves forward as the cheat? There’s no right answer to that question and certainly no answer that will loosen up the tension.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of questions that will test your relationship to the other players. Each game has three rounds within, with a different number of questions in each round. Once you have answered your questions you’re taken to a score-page that shows you the percentage of people’s answers, complete with a nifty pie-chart. Furthermore, in-between rounds there will be a god-like presence that emphasizes your percentage towards the other players, which rates from 0% to 100%.
The sum of Awkward is to put you on the spot. That’s something it manages to achieve at each and every passing second. It’s to showcase you, the player, in an entirely different light, right in front of your nearest and dearest. Screw you, Awkward, screw you. Still, it’s a great deal of fun, if indeed short-lived. Rounds don’t really last that long and it does become repetitive once the initial allure and novelty has worn off, regardless as to how sinister the questions will become in due course. Would you kiss someone who is in a relationship?
Yes, that’s in there too, as well as several other character-damning questions. It’s certainly a game that’s to be enjoyed by those that can take a joke and don’t take life too seriously. If you’re the opposite to that, you might be more offended by this game than anything else. Either way, it is what it is and it will only appeal to a specific crowd. The overall look of the game is very simple and clean-cut, with an appearance that makes it look like you’re playing on a wooden table. The mood of the game relays a comical vibe, which is a nice touch.
The bottom line in all of this is that you’ll know what you’re letting yourselves in for from the onset. It’s very accessible and easy to pick up and play. Depending on your personality and how well you take some passive fun, will determine what you pull from Awkward. Both me and Helen enjoyed what was on offer and never once witnessed repeat questions after several hours of play, but again, it did begin to become boring before too long. It’s a game that’s fun in short bursts, and one that’s definitely suited for streaming too.
Awkward is exactly that, awkward. This is a game that’s hellbent on testing your relationship with those playing by your side. On that front, it can be a blessing and curse depending on how well you can take a joke. Despite becoming repetitive before long, it’s very easy to play, which makes it quite an accessible experience. Though, by design, it’s likely only going to appeal to a specific crowd.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.