Beyond Co-op Review: RiffTrax: The Game
Review by: Paul Acevedo
The cult favorite TV show, Mystery Science Theater 3000, popularized the concept of “riffing” on movies – making jokes at the expense of a bad movie. Several staffers from MST3K went on to form RiffTrax, a comedy group that riffs on countless movies, TV shows, and educational shorts. How do you make that idea into a game, though? Developer Wide Right Interactive somehow found a way, hence the welcome arrival of RiffTrax: The Game.
Just like the Jackbox Party Pack series, RiffTrax: The Game is a party game in which one player hosts the game from a console or PC while other players join and play from the web browsers of their smart devices. 6 active players are supported during a game, and up to 12 players can join the audience as well. The developers have designed RiffTrax: The Game to be streaming friendly, as evidenced by optional Twitch interaction that allows viewers to vote on the proceedings, and moderation tools that allow the host to deal with troublemakers. This one even supports both single-player gameplay and multiplayer matchmaking, two things you don’t get from the Jackbox series!
The game takes place over a customizable number of rounds. During a normal round, the game plays a series of movie clips, pausing after each one to allow players to either write their own riffs or select from pre-made jokes. When writing your own riffs, the game uses text-to-speech to bring the custom jokes to life. The pre-made riffs are voiced by the actual RiffTrax staff, making for a highly authentic experience. After the clip has been played with all players’ riffs, everyone then votes on the best riffs and points get awarded. This continues until the final round, which consists of a single clip and higher point payouts. Optionally, the AI “Riffbot” will fill in as an extra player, choosing clip-specific riffs from a pre-written pool.
One of the things that makes RiffTrax: The Game special is its large arsenal of movie clips. The game features hundreds of clips from different movies and shorts. They’re all movies that the RiffTrax crew would actually riff on, including a few surprisingly recognizable films. The developer has even updated the game with more clips several times since launch!
The other big plus is the choice of both “Write a Riff” and “Pick a Riff” game modes. Creative players will enjoy writing their own jokes and hearing them brought to life, whereas picking a riff is much lower pressure and more approachable. Sometimes the pre-made riffs that players can choose from don’t match the current movie clip all that well, but that’s part of the challenge. Both modes have plenty of potential to liven up the parties of movie fans everywhere.
Although RiffTrax: The Game only offers two game types compared to the average Jackbox Party Pack’s five games, this one costs a lot less than a Jackbox title. It perfectly captures the style and humor of actual RiffTrax performances, something I wouldn’t have imagined before playing this game. Most importantly, RiffTrax: The Game lets gamers and non-gamers alike join up for silly movie-themed fun.
RiffTrax: The Game costs $9.99 on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and Steam.
Our Rating: 4 out of 5