The titles of the PlayLink range developed for Sony’s latest home console reinvent board games by inviting the smartphone to the party.
Did you think game console rhymed with lonely leisure, zombie hunt and bloody fighting? Error. While action games are still the most iconic titles, a new generation of board games, quizzes and police investigations is emerging to reunite family and friends around the TV.
Main representatives of this trend, PlayLink range games developed for the Sony PlayStation 4. The principle? The 2 to 6 players participate no more using a controller, but their own smartphone. They just have to download a small application associated with the game. And this feature changes everything. No more need to know the commands of the buttons, triggers and other joystick with the fingertips: one interacts directly on the mobile screen as it is done daily to select a message, surf the Internet or have fun with a game. Anyone, even refractory to video games, can join the party … forgetting the console itself.
Console games with a smartphone break with the usual practice. According to a recent GfK survey, the majority of parents who play with their children on the console (65%) are adults “who grew up with video games and now share their passion with their children.” Here, everyone can have fun without being a specialist Mario or Fifa. To enjoy these titles, it is naturally necessary to have a PlayStation 4 console, but also install on each mobile application PlayLink and download the game for iOS or Android (19.99 euros or free for PlayStation Now service subscribers) .
We were able to test the main titles of this range and we were conquered. The most dramatic example is the Hidden Agenda, an interactive survey that features police officers, judges and lawyers looking for a serial killer. Sitting in their couch, the players follow the scenario, but they will have to make joint decisions at key moments.
When a policeman, advancing into the suspect’s house, hears noise in a room, the image freezes and two possibilities are offered: should he continue to advance or call a colleague to the rescue? Each participant, using his smartphone, must then vote. The option that obtains the majority is validated and the story continues according to this choice. As the investigation progresses, decisions are crucial. But the authors of this game have added an element that fits the scenario: each player sees, in fact, entrust a secret mission that will oppose the smooth running of the story and the objectives of other players. Suspicion then disrupts discussions and negotiations between participants. Incomparable for parties with friends …
We also have a lot of fun with Who are you? The goal is to test what you know about your friends. What goes through funny questions, pictures to be rigged and sentences to complete that allow to draw the portrait of one of the participants. An example: who asks every five minutes during a trip “Is it still far?” “For Leo, a good evening is …?” Each player then takes his smartphone to answer. And in general, everyone offers the same answer … Which obviously means knowing people well. But the most interesting is the ability to create your own questions. By adapting them to each participant, the game becomes much more entertaining, with guaranteed laughter.
We have also cracked for Knowledge is Power, which takes the codes of the TV quiz, but in delirious version: the players, represented by improbable characters (hot dog, magician, cowgirl, astronaut), must answer thematic questions ( cinema, sport, science …), but can also cast spells on their opponents by hiding their answers with frost or chewing gum, throwing bombs at them.
Imposed missions and secret messages
Finally, more sporty, Frantic is a series of minigames arcade where each player is represented by a hilarious cartoon character. It will be necessary to shake the smartphone or tilt it to move the character, tap the screen to make it jump and chase the opponents of an ice too narrow for all, to eject a participant from a platform or win a crazy car race. . To fix everything, the playmaker, a devious fox, imposes missions and transmits secret messages that force betray other players.
Several game board adaptations can be found in the catalog of games for consoles (Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, various quizzes), but the PlayLink range clearly renews the genre. It is also part of the lineage of the Nintendo Wii console, released in 2006: it was the first to bring together all generations around video games with its joystick controllers and fun activities for all (bowling , duck fishing, tennis, music, etc.). Other initiatives followed, increasing opportunities to bring family and friends together around a console.