Like a great movie sequel, Scene It? Box Office Smash improves upon its predecessor in almost every way imaginable. This release delivers refined gameplay, more party-friendly antics, and enjoyable online play that was sorely lacking from the original. Even the hit-and-miss announcer from the first game has been swapped out for two voice-over guys who bring some laughs while working memorable movie quotes into their routine.
Just like the first Scene It release on the Xbox 360, Box Office Smash is a trivia game for up to four players that is designed to test your knowledge of blockbuster, cult, and classic movies. This great sequel collects videos, pictures, and trivia from films released from the '50s all the way up to some films from this holiday season. In some cases, up to four players are challenged to be the first to buzz in, which is more fun with one of the game's Big Button Pads, though regular controllers are supported. In other cases, puzzles allow everyone the unfettered opportunity to cast their ballots for what answer they think is correct. Regardless of the question type, the sooner you answer, the more points you can win. The timing adds urgency and provides rich rewards for players who are fast with the fingers, and able to quickly draw from a deep well of cinematic factoids. Whether you play a short or long game, the puzzles are broken up into three rounds of various puzzles, with a final round that is full of big payoffs. Prizes in between rounds also do a good job keeping games close so as to discourage complete blowouts.
Box Office Smash reinvests in better special effects and more game-type variety. Gone are the less-enjoyable old yearbook photo questions; in are some impressive new modes, including the deliciously 8-bit reenactments of movie scenes. Each of the returning game types has gotten a face lift. Instead of visiting movie studio locations for each type of puzzle, a flying couch takes emotive player avatars to amusingly interpreted movie locations. The puzzle stages range from deciphering anagrams in archaeologically inspired Mayan ruins to completing broken quotes in a mountaintop martial arts shrine.
While those locations are undoubtedly best visited with friends, a high-score Solo mode is also available. This allows you to play through a game where every correct answer increases a scoring multiplier. As you chain more correct answers together, you can really ramp your way up the leaderboards and unlock achievements. Box Office Smash also delivers the biggest game mode missing from the first Scene It: online play. Online matches are fast, fun, and--if you play with friends--as good as throwing your own movie trivia party with people scattered around the world.
Some players might be disappointed by the movie clips that appear in every round, but even if you see the same clips again and again, there won't be any shortage of questions to go with them. In fact, most of the clips are some of the funniest, most suspenseful, or otherwise quirky moments from the selected films. While not all of the clips are as tastefully selected as the first game's repertoire, most adults will not have any problems with the substance of this game's categories or content. Parents should take note of the game's T rating, because some of the included scenes are taken from R-rated and otherwise mature movies.
This return of Scene It brings more movie clips, more recent titles, solid online play, and vastly improved visuals. The improvements leave little to criticize and everything to enjoy. Scene It? Box Office Smash is a great party game, and one that offers hours of enjoyment for even the most casual of players.