Prior to Awkward’s release we had been contacted several times asking us if we’d like to review the game. As a big fan of the Jackbox series of games as well as games like Cards Against Humanity, the game’s marketing seemed like it would be a good fit and the perfect Switch title to play at a party. Sure enough a summer party came around and so I accepted the review code and had high hopes. Having seen the promotional video for Awkward and some of the questions the game promised to ask (“Who do you think looks at porn more often? and “What would you rather lick?”) combined with the game’s M rating gave the impression that this would be a funny game to play with a bunch of friends. Unfortunately this was not the case and it was universally hated by everyone in attendance.
The game’s premise is quite simple and it’s been done a million times before. One player (up to six can join in) is given a question and must answer via one of the two choices provided. Then another player must try and guess which answer the other player picked. If they match, congratulations – you know each other really well (or got lucky because hey it’s a 50-50 chance). The game keeps track of the compatibility between players and after each question and answer session you get to see how the rest of the population answered the question. After several rounds the game abruptly ends and there’s really on fanfare or winner here. Congratulations on finding out important facts about your friends, like whether or not they wear socks to bed.
I don’t think I’ve ever been misled by a video game marketing campaign as much as the one for Awkward. The launch trailer shows off provocative questions – ones that might make someone squirm or have the slightest reservation about telling the truth for fear of what others would think. Indeed, the voiceover even says, “Over 5000 painful questions!” I’m sorry, but asking someone whether they get more excited about fruitcake or eggnog at Christmas isn’t what I’d consider bold, interesting, or the least bit entertaining. Even after playing over 10 rounds of this game, I have no clue how it received an M rating. It’s almost like they wanted to be edgy and requested the M as a badge of honor. I’ve seen more salacious questions on Sesame Street. It is sad that the only awkward moment of the game is the very beginning where, if you’re playing in groups of 2, the game asks you your sexual preference. Why and to what purpose that’s even in the game remains a mystery, as we messed around with it and noticed no changes in the questions.
Working in the media and reviewing games has its perks: early access to titles and free games just being a small part, but it can also have its drawbacks: playing hours of awful games and then spending hours more writing about them. This game is nothing more than a paid version of the Everybody Votes channel that used to be on the original Wii. At least that had some fun questions to answer and it was free to boot! So, if you’ve ever had the desire to know whether one of your friends would rather change their teeth or their butt – Awkward is the game for you. For everyone else, save your money and beat yourself over the head with a tree branch – you’ll have more fun.
Awkward was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.