If you had to question or examine why you play videogames, there's a good chance you do it either to get away from the world around you and escape into a different setting, or just to relax and unwind with something easy and familiar.
How we play games and on what we play them with is changing every day, with the advent of VR, retro-gaming like the Classic Mini SNES, and mobile gaming. Mobile gaming's something that's become hugely popular in recent years - just look at the huge success (initially, anyway) of Pokemon GO. However, the gap between mobile and console gaming is one that seems too great a distance to cross - despite efforts from the likes of Rockstar Games and GTAV, Bethesda and Fallout 4, and now the PlayLink system.
The games work on an easy-to-use basis that definitely appeals to casual players and is made more enjoyable by larger groups than a single-player experience. Hidden Agenda, just one of several games announced for the initiative, works by linking your smartphone - through an app - to the game and utilises your phone as an on-screen controller.
The game works like a choose-your-own-adventure crime drama, where you have to decide on what route to take through it. Conversations work in mostly binary scenarios, either as aggressive or passive, or curious or reserved. As well as this, the story unfolds and sees you trying to find your way through a crime scene, using your phone to sift through quickly to find clues before the time runs out in any given scene.
As an experience, it's unique and the voice-acting and story itself is compelling enough to keep you interested, but there isn't enough in it to keep you at it for very long. More often than not, the game plays like a cutscene rather than something you have an active part in. The game does point out that there are ripple effects from your decisions, which either limit or widen your choices further into the game, but it still does feel like there's only one of two ways any situation can go.
As well as this, the game's multiplayer aspect dictates that all parties have to agree on any given decision - which means you're arguing with someone else as to which way to go. Again, that might be the fun of it - but who wants to do that when you could be playing something else without half the arguments?
Knowledge Is Power, meanwhile, works like a straightforward quiz show and has a few social elements to it - such as taking a picture of yourself to act as your avatar - but it's the same thing with Hidden Agenda. There isn't enough meat to the game, and works better more as a light, throwaway experience than anything else.
Overall, the PlayLink is an interesting concept and with the right game, it could be really something special.