Review: RiffTrax: The Game
When you’re creating a follow-up or sequel to a previous game, one of many things to consider is “how much should we change from our previous game?” Changing too much could risk alienating fans of the original, but could bring in new fans. Not changing enough might be seen as being lazy, but may make your core audience happy.
…or you can just throw all that out the window and release what is essentially the same game again. Make a couple tweaks, add some famous voices, and call it a day. Whether that’s seen as a good or bad thing, though, will be determined by your audience.
This is the direction that Wide Right Interactive appears to have taken with their latest release. We looked at their last game, What the Dub?!, about a year ago. Playing through their latest release often led me to checking if I hadn’t accidentally just loaded up What the Dub again.
Developed and published by Wide Right Interactive, RiffTrax: The Game was released on May 5th, 2022, for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam. The PC version was played for this review.
Yelling at the Movies
RiffTrax: The Game‘s premise is a simple one. All players are shown a clip from an old movie. A portion of the clip, typically a line of dialogue, is silenced. Each player has to enter their own line or riff to replace it. The players’ lines are then played back, typically dubbed in a generic robotic voice, and players vote on their favorite. Most points wins.
If you bothered to click the link above to our What the Dub?! review, you may notice that the paragraph you just read is almost exactly the same as one from there, just with a few small changes. Because, really, that’s exactly what RiffTrax: The Game is.
There are two game modes you are able to select this time around, though. “Write a Riff” is exactly what I just described above. “Pick a Riff” plays much more like a game of Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity. Every player is given a “hand” of six riffs, and has to choose which one to use in each clip presented. They then receive a new riff to replace the one they used, and have the option to discard their “hand” and start with a fresh one once per game.
For those that aren’t quick on their feet with riff and quips, the Write a Riff mode evens the playing field for everyone involved. However, it also carries on the issues the board games that seemed to inspire it also have. Namely, it’s really easy to just have a bad hand, leading players to just dump “bad” riffs on some rounds…and then a usually awkward silence when their “bad riff” is played to all the players.
My group of friends quickly went back to Write a Riff mode and never really looked back.
A new option to this game is to include an AI that submits a riff in each round, voiced by one of the members of RiffTrax. The game describes this as an “extra challenge,” to get the players to “show off their riffing skills against the pros!” In action, though, it is incredibly obvious which riffs are added in by the AI. Every player-submitted riff is read back using a robotic text-to-voice style, while the AI lines are read by a RiffTrax member. Also, the AI lines tend to be tailor-made to the scene being riffed, making them stand out even more.
I will give it to RiffTrax though, the selection of clips and riff moments is much better than much of what I played back in What the Dub?!. In the latter, there were way too many moments of poor setups that my friends and I struggled to make funny. The opportunities for humor here are vastly superior.
The few technical issues we had in What the Dub?! were also fixed here in RiffTrax. No more accidental line submission glitches or end-of-round lockups; the presentation and gameplay here worked smoothly and efficiently.
Once again, like its predecessor, this is a much shorter review than is typical here at Gamer Escape, since there’s not really much to review here. Even less, really, since our What the Dub?! review mostly applies to RiffTrax: The Game as well. It’s a simple but well-put-together party game that’s easy to set up and play, whether with friends at home, online on Discord, or streaming to a Twitch audience.
I know I spent good chunk of this review ripping the game for being so damn similar to its predecessor, but when said predecessor was already a solid party game, there really isn’t much that needs to change. Hell, if you’re a fan of the RiffTrax crew, this game would even be the better option.
If your group of friends is looking for a new party game, you really can’t go wrong with what’s on offer here. If you already own What the Dub?!, though, there really isn’t all that much new here to justify double dipping.
Review copy provided by Wide Right Interactive for PC. Screenshots taken by reviewer.