Scene It? Movie Night is a bit like a rare straight-to-DVD sequel that doesn't have as many bells and whistles as its predecessors yet still manages to deliver on the things that fans liked the first time around. It strictly follows the formula of the series and doesn't take any risks, but the movie trivia game is still fun, especially when friends and family are involved.
This Scene It? is decidedly smaller in scope than its retail brethren, but that's not entirely a bad thing. There is only one mode, which is more or less the same whether you play it alone or with up to three other players. In each game, you are given a series of questions spread out across seven "puzzles" or question types. Your goal is to answer each question as quickly as you can because your possible score per question will be counting down with every passing moment. Playing by yourself is merely a quest for a high score, where you see the possible answers to each question from the beginning and are only out to prove to yourself how much movie trivia you know.
The game is much more fun with other players. You can play it exactly the same way, with the only difference being the sense of competition, or you can turn on buzzers. With the buzzers on, the answer choices in each question are hidden until a player presses the buzzer. When one does, players have four seconds to lock in their answers and hopefully get an edge on their competition. The catch is that if a player buzzes in and gets the question wrong, he or she loses points instead of gaining them. It's enough of a risk-versus-reward system to add excitement and a little tension to multiplayer matches.
Both the first and penultimate rounds of questions are always "Movie Clips," where a film clip is played and you have to answer questions about what you just saw. Sometimes the questions are more about the film in general (or a specific facet of it, such as its director), but sometimes, they test how closely you were watching by asking, "How many times did the characters say 'friends'?" or "What color vest was Marty wearing?" These are the most traditional of Scene It? questions, and they feature a good mix of classic films like Back to the Future with some newer hits like The Social Network. You also see a lot of Tom Hanks, but maybe that speaks more to the fact that he is such a prolific actor. There are a limited number of these clips available in the game (enough for roughly 10 games before you see repeated clips), but there are a few different sets of questions for each, extending their value.
Other puzzles have their own hooks, which makes them more interesting than a simple question-and-answer quiz. If you've played previous Scene It? games, they'll likely be familiar. Invisibles removes a character from a still image and makes you guess the actor or movie shown in the image. Credit Roll forces you to deduce a film's title based on its credits (particularly the lesser-known roles). Child's Play shows a childish drawing of a film scene and makes you guess the title, while a similar puzzle, Pixel Flix, has you looking at a movie scene remade with old-school-style game graphics. Some other puzzles have you matching films with actors or related items or ordering films and their events chronologically. The final round is always Quick Pitch, which is a series of rapid-fire clues that you have to match to their appropriate answer. The variety of question types helps keep the game fresh in the handful of hours before you start seeing questions repeated. Groups of questions are randomized rather than individual questions; this allows for questions in a category to follow each other logically, which is nice.
The presentation is bare bones from top to bottom, featuring only simple backgrounds and sound effects as you play. Players don't get any personality features, such as avatar support for the Xbox 360 version or even usernames. Everybody is simply listed as Player 1, Player 2, and so on, and they all have the same icon. The game's announcer is usually OK, but he has so few phrases that you may grow tired of him quickly and want to punch him the 15th time he mentions that a certain song "was huge before you were born." There is also no online play. Granted, this is a game that is absolutely more fun when your competition is sharing your couch, but it's a shame the option isn't there for people who can't get a local group together. If you have the buzzer controllers from old Xbox 360 version of Scene It? you can use them here, but there's nothing wrong with using standard controllers.
As is probably obvious, Scene It? Movie Night is for groups of people that have a love for movies and trivia. You don't have to be a film student or hardcore movie buff, but you do need at least a basic knowledge of movie history, including tidbits about actors, directors, and even a few screenwriters. If you don't know that the time-turner is from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (or at least that it's not from Spider-Man, Star Trek II or The Terminator), then you might be in trouble. Scene It? Movie Night doesn't do anything new or exciting, but if you get the right group together, it can be just as fun as a night at the movies.