April 7, 2021
Warner Bros International
April 13, 2021
Warner Bros International
It takes two to "Heads Up!". Have fun with friends and family while playing this addictive charade game!
If you're a sucker for guessing and charade games, you'll be loving Heads Up!.
Heads Up! had its moment of fame in 2013 when it started being featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Since then, Warner has built an app completely inspired by this guessing show, one that would become a staple of family gatherings and parties.
This game was designed with the sole purpose of being played with two or more people. It's a "social game" at its very core. If you wanted to play solo trivia, there are other alternatives on the market, but this one ain't the one for you.
It feels kinda weird to review this game at a time marred by social distancing measures and lockdowns. Nevertheless, the team at Warner has found a novel way to circumvent this setback by integrating with Instagram and Facebook Messenger. Reimagined via Augmented Reality and Group Effects, the game could be featured in your video calls, so that you can play it even if you're not physically with a group or person. It's probably not as thrilling that way, but it's still an alternative.
Additionally, the use cases of this game are numerous. To illustrate, some reviewers on Apple's App Store alleged to have utilized this app in their English classes! And the best part is that it's free (well, for the most part!)
While you may it without paying a dime, you'll be encouraged to make in-app purchases to get additional decks or make your own decks. This wouldn't be a bad thing if the decks didn't cost a dollar each ($0.99 to be more precise but, yeah, a dollar!) It would have been great if the developers or publishers could offer bundles or packs at a discount but, alas, you'll have to stick to a buck per deck for the time being.
The other drawback about this app is the "upgrades" (or, rather, downgrades). For example, they removed the adjustable timer and lots of other quality-of-life settings the game had in previous versions. I'm not sure what Warner was thinking when making this move, but they've surely received their fair share of criticism from their old user base!
Finally, the app weighs 100 MB. I'm not really sure how an app that's only about showing flashy words on a screen can take such a big chunk of storage space, but old devices with a mere 16 GB of storage will have a very hard time playing this game, which is a shame. Perhaps it can be justified with the inclusion of the video recording feature, but I'm just not seeing it.
In case you're wondering, this game is family-friendly, meaning you won't be getting R-rated content not suitable for children, at least as far as I could witness. If you're worried that the content is not fitting for your kids, you could prompt them to play the Charades for Kids version instead.
Heads Up! is a guessing/charade game that is played with another person or in a group. The game encourages people to play in teams, though you can find the game mode that best suits your situation.
The premise is fairly simple. The game initially gives you 7 decks to choose from. You'll be able to select out of these seven categories:
New decks are regularly added to the game, depending on what's trending at a given moment.
To play, you would put the back of your phone against your forehead, with the screen facing the crowd. Your teammates will then need to provide clues related to the words appearing on the screen, while the opposing team would often attempt to confuse you into guessing wrongly. You have to guess the word within a limited span of time. The counter will appear below the word, letting your friends and adversaries know how much time is left.
If your teammate is the one holding the phone, you should do everything in your power to make sure the word is guessed without spelling it out. If it's an animal, try making the corresponding sounds or describing the animal in detail. For example, if the word that shows up is "Cat", you'd only have to "meow". Things could get complicated if the word is "Capybara", but I'm sure you'll do your best!
Another way to aid in the guessing process is by using synonyms of the word. To give just one example, if the word shown on the screen is "seat", you could say "chair" so that your teammate may think of a chair. However, if it's a proper noun - such as an artist's name - you'd have no choice but to employ other methods such as mimics or singing (if it's the name of a musical artist).
If you get the answer right, tilt your head down while holding the phone, and the phone's accelerometer will prompt the next word or catchphrase. If you're not able to guess it, just tilt the phone up and the next word will appear. Of course, you won't be able to earn points if you skip words. It should go without saying that the team that guesses the most words wins.
Finally, as stated earlier, the game can also be played during Instagram and Facebook Messenger video calls. You may also be able to play it via Zoom meetings. It's a nice way to play with friends without having to physically gather.
Heads Up! has been generally well-received since launch and it's still up and running after almost 10 years. However, considering the ill-conceived decisions the developers have made in more recent times, the app's quality has waned, spawning a plethora of 1- and 2-star ratings on the Apple App Store and, especially, on the Google Play Store, and I wonder whether the game could still hold its own without a celebrity backing it up. I would recommend it, but I wouldn't spend so much spare money on decks nowadays.
How about you? Have you already guessed which game you should boot up for your next party? Let me know in the comments below!
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