For each topic, there are two game modes. You can either choose to "Play now" and be matched with another player you don't know, or you can challenge one of your friends. If you choose to get matched, the app will take a few seconds to find you a challenger. I've played against people from all over the world, from Saudi Arabia to Finland.
If you challenge a friend, they'll get a notification that you want to play. What's nice is that you get the option to play on your own now and your friend can play against your answers later, whenever they want. Once they finish the game, you'll be notified of the outcome -- whether you were victorious or not.
You'll get six rounds of multiple choice questions, and some even include images, such as for the brand logo or celebrity categories. You have 10 seconds to answer the question, and the faster you respond, the more points you earn. That adds another layer of difficulty to the game, because you only get a few seconds to read the question before the answer choices appear and the countdown begins. If the other person knows the answer, you run the risk of not buzzing in fast enough and missing out on a few points, which could mean the difference between winning and losing.
If you tap the right answer, your points counter on the side of the screen will flash green and start to fill up. You can see your total points at the top of the screen, next to your name and profile picture. Tap the wrong answer and the counter flashes red. After both contestants have buzzed in, you can see which answer your opponent chose.
The last question is a bonus round that gives you twice as many points and can help save you if you've fallen behind. After the match is over, there's a summary screen that shows how many total points you earned, including bonuses for winning, completely the match and more. Even if you lose the game, you'll still earn points, which help you level up in that topic. However, it's not clear what your level actually means in the game.
Scroll down on that screen to view every question in the match, plus stats on your and your opponent's performance. You can also report a question if you think the answer is wrong.
At anytime during a game, your opponent can surrender. If they do, you still earn points and can level up. Unfortunately, you can never pause a game once it starts, so if you can't continue to play, your only option is to surrender, which means your opponent will earn points, but you won't.
Extras and upgrades
There are many more extra features in QuizUp than I can't detail here. Casual players only need to worry about the trivia categories, but if you want to dive deeper, it's worth exploring the discussions for each topic, player rankings, achievements and statistics on each match, and your overall performance.
QuizUp is free, but there are in-app purchases that help you gain more points so you can level up quicker. Thankfully, these are hidden away in the store menu, instead of constantly bombarding you while you play the game. They'll cost you between $2.50 and $7.50 to boost your points.
QuizUp is a beautifully-designed social quiz game that takes your seemingly useless knowledge about "Breaking Bad" characters or Asian geography and makes it, well, useful, so that you can challenge strangers and friends for bragging rights.
The game also has a great design and enough categories so that you keep coming back to play more and more rounds. Despite the fact that there's no way to play offline, QuizUp is a fun pub-style trivia game that can easily keep you entertained for a few hours.