If arguing about who’s going to do the washing up isn’t quite enough for you and your partner, there’s now a video game you can play together to spark controversy between the two of you. It’s called Awkward, and it’s a party game designed to be, er, awkward. You can play as a couple, by yourself, or as a group of three or more friends. It’s as a romantic pairing that the game’s best played, though. And so this is how I spent my Saturday night; finding out if my boyfriend thinks I’m more lazy or bossy.
Sort of like a video game version of Mr & Mrs (minus Julian Clary), Awkward asks both players questions in turn. You’ve got to answer in secret before passing the controller over to your partner to let them guess your answer. Questions start out fairly innocently – do you like pineapple on your pizza, for instance, or whether you’re more bothered by piles of dirty laundry or dirty dishes – but the heat soon ramps up. Some of the questions are thought-provoking and philosophical; others are downright personal, and may lead to red faces if players don’t know each other quite as well as expected.
One game only takes around fifteen minutes or so (although that depends on how long you ponder and/or argue between every round…) so we played through a few in a row. I was asked who worries most (I picked me, my partner reckoned himself...), and he was asked which Mr. Men character I was most like (Mr Lazy. I can handle that).
Questions took a deeper, more sinister turn when we progressed into round two. Is it okay to use enough force to kill a burglar in order to protect yourself? Do parents have the right to prevent their children being vaccinated? Of course, more relationship-focused questions were thrown into the mix too: Have you ever passionately kissed someone who was already in a relationship? Would you date someone who was married but separated?
Awkward is good fun, but it could easily get uncomfortable depending on your personality type. In high spirits it’s hilarious, but hit a sensitive spot and it’ll be a seriously sulky Game Over. You can, of course, play with a friend or family member rather than a lover, or as a larger group. The game asks you your relationship with each other before you start playing so it can tailor questions appropriately. And in a very nice touch, after every question it tells you how the rest of the world answered too.
That’s how the single player mode works, too. If you haven’t got anyone else nearby to play with, single player asks you to guess how you think the majority has answered each question. It’s obviously not where the fun of the game lies, but if you’re desperate to answer some questions on your lonesome, then it's nice to have the option.
Developed by Snap Finger Click, the UK-based dev team who brought us Act It Out! and It’s Quiz Time, Awkward is another well-made and amusing party game. Just, err, exercise a bit more caution than usual with this one: it's all fun and games until someone gets called ugly.