Are You Smarter Than A Travel Genius?

HeroCraft has quickly become one of my favorite mobile phone developers.  I can't say that I've liked everything they've done, but I admire the fact that they've developed such a diverse range of products.  They also have a knack for putting their own spin on a classic style of gaming.  Whether you're playing the laser-and-mirrors update Robo, the stylish Ball Rush Aqua that proved there was more to be done with Breakout clones, or the unique strategy game Gone In 60 Seconds, it's clear that HeroCraft purposes in their mind to bring you a different experience with each game they develop.  I'm happy to say that the same can be said about their latest effort, Travel Genius.

Travel Genius is certainly a unique take on the trivia game premise.  There are no "select A, B, C or D" questions.  Nor are there any "finish this phrase" statements.  In fact, you really won't find any questions at all.  Even the interface is different than anything I've seen in a trivia game before.  To select a category you navigate through a screen that looks like a giant bookcase.  The majority of the shelf's contents are somewhat subdued in browns and grays, but certain clumps of books or other items are brightly colored.  These represent the categories that you can select.

The Black Sea

Once you've selected a category you will be presented with seven items related to that category.  For example, if the topic is "Sights - Entire World", then the first item might be Hollywood.  Depending on the scope of the topic you will be presented with a map of a certain geographical area.  In this case, since the topic is "Entire World", you will have a map of the entire world.  The region covering your topic will be divided into nine squares, and you must pick the square that represents a smaller area that contains the item you are looking for.  If you pick the right area, the map will zoom in and you must once again pick an area that narrows down the location of your item.  If you guess the second area, you get the item right. If you guess wrong at either level, you get the question wrong.  However, if you guess right at the higher level and wrong at the zoomed in level, you get a mark that's somewhat between the red X of a truly wrong answer and the check mark of a right answer.  You still get points for a "semi-wrong" answer, just not as many as if you got the item right.

To uncover additional categories, you must get a certain number of items correct in one of the categories already available to you.  There are 21 categories in the game, and you must complete twelve of them in order to win.  I really like the layout of the game, but the reality is that for someone like me who's geographically illiterate, winning often comes down to memorization and the hope that during a given round the game will repeat all the items that I've memorized.  Oddly, though, that's okay with me.  I think the reason this doesn't bother me is that at the same time I realize how much I don't know, I also realize how much I either do know or at least how much I can surmise from what I know.  I will say that it would be nice to have a feature (optional of course) that would give you more details on the specific locale of each item, regardless of whether you got it right or not.  They do place a flag in the "location" of the item in question, but because you aren't zoomed in to a very detailed level on the map, it's still somewhat hard to discern where everything is at.  While the primary focus of a game should be fun, this could make a nice learning tool if it were a bit more detailed.

The game is kind enough to provide a chart detailing your "learning progress" compared to average, advanced and expert players.  Sadly, my progress isn't even worth mentioning.  One thing that I think would be a neat addition to this game would be a two player mode.  Connection mode doesn't really matter - it could even be hot seat.  I would envision a competition that's something like best out of X, where X could be three, five or seven.  The idea would be that you'd play X number of rounds, where a round is seven questions per player.  The victor would be the one with the most wins.  They could even let the winner of a given round choose the category for the next round.  Just a thought, guys (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

Choose Your Category

Graphically there's not a whole lot to the game.  The bookshelf looks cool, but all the objects are pretty simplistic.  That's perfectly fine, though, since it just acts as an interface to the actual game.  The initial map can be a bit small, especially if you're viewing the entire world, but assuming you've looked at maps or a globe at some point, everything is quite recognizable.  In general it's a nice, clean interface, just not as fancy as you might expect from a HeroCraft game.

The sound effects are fine, given that this is a trivia game, though I'm not sure you'd miss much if they weren't there.  The music is actually pretty decent.  It has a somewhat "elevator music" feel to it, which actually works well for this type of game.  It's basically there to provide something in the background without consuming your attention.  It's not even that bad to listen to in small spurts while you're doing something like writing a paragraph or two for a review!


I have to say that I quite enjoyed this game.  The simplicity and uniqueness of the interface made it a nice change of pace from the average trivia game.  The aesthetics, while nothing awe-inspiring, were nicely done.  The range of items certainly tested your knowledge of geography in an entertaining way.  Hopefully they'll consider a second edition that would include multi-player mode and more detailed information on the locations you're seeking.  Otherwise, Travel Genius is a fun, casual way to learn more about the world around you.


Overall Score: 8/10
Product Page: Travel Genius Home Page


Syndicate content