Who Wants to be a Millionaire Special Editions: South Park is a new iOS release from 2waytraffic, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. The game is a paid Universal app, but is not presently available in the U.S. App Store. It is, however, available in Europe. This is apparently due to licensing issues, and its release Stateside is currently being negotiated.
The game is a simple implementation of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire format with questions all themed around the South Park show. The game also features authentic South Park speech and animated sequences before, after and during play. Unlike the console version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire Special Editions, which allows players to purchase and download a variety of themed content packs, this iOS title is a standalone game.
For those unfamiliar with the Millionaire format, the game takes the form of a multiple-choice quiz with questions of gradually increasing difficulty. Every five questions, players reach a “safe haven,” where the virtual prize money they have banked up until that point becomes guaranteed. Each question carries a higher potential prize but also presents a greater level of difficulty. At any point a player may choose to leave the game with their current winnings intact if they do not feel they will be able to answer the current question.
The player is provided with three “lifelines” to help them answer difficult questions. 50:50 is the simplest of these, removing two incorrect answers and giving a guessing player even odds of finding the correct response. Ask the Audience polls the virtual audience and displays a bar chart supposedly showing what they believe the correct answer to be. These are not always correct. Finally, Phone a Friend allows the player to phone up a variety of different South Park characters ranging from God to Satan and everyone in between. The answer the friend believes is correct is then marked — but again, this is not a guaranteed success.
The game also features an implementation of the TV show’s “fastest finger” round where four items must be arranged into the correct order. Rather than determining who gets to play, however, this is used to determine the player’s score multiplier, as the player’s final result at the end of a game is supplemented by a speed bonus as well as the aforementioned multiplier. These scores may then be compared with friends via Game Center, adding a competitive, social element to play.
The animation and audio in the game is excellent and looks just like an episode of South Park. However, there could have been more of it — the questions are not voiced, for example, and Phone a Friend simply plays a short, unrelated sound clip from the “friend” in question rather than allowing the player to hear them decide on a specific option. This issue was likely a result of a combination of budgetary concerns as well as a desire to keep the file size down.
Despite this, Who Wants to be a Millionaire Special Editions: South Park is a good quality game that will delight fans of the show, though its lack of worldwide release will limit its overall success until the licensing issue is resolved.