In a previous post on the joys - and, er, otherwise - of THQ's Autumn output, I mentioned that there's one new title that deserves its own post.
And the more I think about it, the more I think that's the case. I certainly haven't seen a game like it. I also expect it to be cited in family disputes, arguments and divorces for several years to come. Ladies, gents, I give you... Truth or Lies.
Remember that scene in Meet The Parents where Ben Stiller gets a grilling from Robert De Niro, with the assistance of an old lie detector? Prepare to recreate that in the comfort of your own home.
Essentially, Truth or Lies gives you the opportunity to turn your console – and we're talking Nintendo Wii, PS3 or XBOX 360 – into a lie detector. After assorted games that have used the plug-in microphones to rate your singing, Truth or Lies uses the microphones to check whether you're telling porkies or not.
The main game is a fairly straightforward bit of crowd-pleasing which, you'll be pleased to know, has a lot of family friendly security settings and a parental lock. As a multi-player option, up to eight people can play which should make this quite entertaining over Christmas. The game can be set to family play, with lots of general questions, or, should you be feeling bold and surrounded by more grown-up company, slightly naughtier topics can be discussed. Seriously, this has drinking game written all over it.
All told there are some 3000 questions lurking on the disc and, following this demo, it's clear that some are more suited to close groups than, say, as an ice breaker for new work colleagues etc. “Who in the room has the most book smarts but the least street smarts?” isn't going to cause too many rifts in either situation or, frankly, challenge the voice detecting software. Quite why you'd lie about this question is a bit of a mystery. I suppose you might be trying to impress a new boss or a member of the family - “oh no, I think so-and-so is clearly the best read of everyone here!” - but the downside doesn't seem too great on this sort of challenge.
Likewise “what quality makes you unique?” is also just tiptoeing round the good stuff. Unless you say “honesty” and the voice calibration gremlin decides you're a big sneak, you're not going to cause too much offence or create too many ripples.
Anyway, a typical game will take 15-30 minutes ( you can adjust the duration) and it promises lots of fun / discussion for kids, teens, adults, couples and families – and the questions can be adjusted for the audience.
Depending on the crowd, you can rack up the tension – the excruciating factor perhaps – with different types of question. “What nerdy activity do you secretly enjoy?” is getting the ball rolling in a more interesting direction, ditto “what secret have you never told your best friend?” And then there's that old chestnut “who do you have a crush on?” although surely that needs to be “who in the room do you have a crush on?”
Here's the thing. That sort of flexibility is possible with Truth or Lies. Because – and here's the bit to excite the divorce lawyers / social services – there's a mode called The Hot Seat. In this mode, the voice detection software is on and checking your reaction for whatever qualities suggest you're not being honest. The questions though? They depend on you.
Basically, you can ask the person in the Hot Seat whatever you want. And, assuming the software is as good as it seems to be, they have to tell the truth. In the right hands / circumstances, this could be a lot of fun – and it's got drinking game written all over it. In the wrong hands though, it could turn your living room into the Jeremy Kyle Show.
Still, as far as I'm aware, this is a completely new notion in terms of video games and that's something you don't see very often. The game is released later in the year – just in time for stressful family gatherings – so stand by for a full review (and alimony) in due course.