I played my first round of Plain Vanilla's QuizUp, "the biggest trivia game in the world", last night around 9 PM. I played my last round of the evening at 4 AM. This game is dangerously good.

I've been overlooking emails about QuizUp for several weeks now, which, considering how tired I am today, was probably a good idea. I certainly wouldn't have played as many games as I have over the past two weeks with this trvial monkey clinging to my back.

I figured it was just another quiz game — the cheap and easy ones that gather in the dark corners of iTunes, lying in wait for the unsuspecting trivia buff. It was probably packed with ads and microtransactions, with a small selection of easy questions burned through in one sitting.

That's not QuizUp at all. QuizUp is a world-spanning head-to-head trivia tournament. It's social, but not obnoxiously so — you never have to bother your friends unless you'd like to challenge them to an asynchronous battle. It's quite happy to match you up with a random opponent, racing through seven questions in real-time.

The game's topics cover just about everything important. It's ridiculous.

Categories and Topics on QuizUp

  • Arts & LIterature (arts: general, literature: general, architecture, Batman, The Bible, Children's Literature, Classics, Comics, Fifty Shades of Grey, Harry Potter, Hitchhiker's Guide, The Hunger Games, etc.)
  • Business (brands, business, commercials, economics, entrepreneurs, logos, money, tech, web culture)
  • Educational (math: general, math: easy, math: hard, word definitions, words)
  • Games (Games: General, Nintendo titles, tabletop games, video game history, video games)
  • Geography (Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Explorers, Flags, Landmarks, Name the City, Name the Country, Name the Flag, North America, South America, US States, World Capitals)
  • History (History: General, 16th & 17th Century, 18th-19th Century, 20th & 21st Century, Ancient Greece, Ancient History, Ancient Rome, etc.)
  • Lifestyle (Beer, Cars, Celebrities, Christmas, Clothes, Cosmetics, Drinks, Fashion, Food, Fruits & Vegetables, Health, Herbs & Spices, Interior Design, Snacks, Toys, Transportation, Wine)
  • Movies (Movies: General, Action & Adventure, Animation, Batman, Bollywood, Classics, Comedy, Disney, Drama, The Godfather, Harry Potter, Horror, Hunger Games, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Lord of the Rings, The Oscars, Pixar, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.)
  • Music (Music: General, 1960's music, 1970's music, 1980's music, 1990's music, 2000's Music, The Beatles, Beyonce, Boy Bands, Classic Rock, Classical, Country, Electronic, Elton John, Hip Hop & Rap, etc.)
  • Nature (Animals, Birds, Botany, Cats, Dinosaurs, Dogs, Insects, Mammals, Marine Life, Reptiles)
  • Science (Science, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, The Human Body, Medical, Physics, Scientists, Space, Space Exploration)
  • Sports (Sports: General, Auto Racing, Baseball, Basketball, Football, Soccer, Boxing, Chess, Hockey, Pro Wrestling, Summer Olympics, MMA, etc.)
  • TV (TV: General, 1980's TV, 1990's TV, The Big Bang Theory, Breaking Bad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cartoons, Classic Cartoons, Crime, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, Doctor Who, Drama, Family Guy, etc.)

All that, and Plain Vanilla is regularly adding more topics and more questions. They even invite players to join the editorial team, contributing their own.

But what makes QuizUp so compelling, aside from the lightning-fast, mobile-perfect rounds, is the experience system. Players level up in each individual category as they play — I am at level 13 in the Video Game category, level 5 in Doctor Who, level 3 in Word Definitions. Reach level 10 in any subject and you receive a special title you can tack onto your name. There may be better ones at higher levels, but right now I'm fine with "Doomguy."

Trivia mixed with a level system and a sleek, simple interface equals me staying up until four in the morning, trying to beat people in the UK at Doctor Who quizzes, which never seems to work.

QuizUp is free-to-play, but again, it's not obnoxious about it. The only items for purchase are experience point boosters — you can play all you want with no restrictions, completely free.

I'd eloquently summarize the game in this final paragraph, but I'm too tired to pull it off. I am losing sleep over how much fun QuizUp is — I'll just leave it at that.

QuizUp

Genre: Global Real-Time Trivia Platform

Developer: Plain Vanilla

Platform: iPhone (iPad upscales nicely)

Price: Free

Get QuizUp on iTunes