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Heads Up for iOS review: Fun game for dinner parties or family events

The game that was recently featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show requires only one iPhone and a group of people to have a fun time.

Jason Parker Senior Editor / Reviews - Software
Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.
Jason Parker
3 min read

Heads Up is a trivia-style party game that was recently featured (and played) on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. With the game installed on just one iPhone, you can challenge a friend or several friends to a trivia competition. While you won't have much fun alone with Heads Up, it might be the perfect app for livening up a dinner party or family event.


Heads Up for iOS

The Good

<b>Heads Up</b> is a social party game you can play with one person or a group, all on one iPhone. The various activities are fun, providing unique entertainment in a group setting.

The Bad

The app doesn't record your scores. Each additional deck costs 99 cents, with no multipack deals.

The Bottom Line

Heads Up is a fun, simple option for livening up a party or family event.

The way it works is, you pick a trivia category from one of seven themed decks of "cards." These aren't actually trivia categories in the traditional sense; Heads Up combines trivia with identifying silly accents, humming music to guess a song, acting out an action (like classic Charades), and other fun activities.

When you're ready to play, you start the game and hold your iPhone facing outward so your friends can see the screen. An answer appears on the screen and it is your friends' job to give you clues without saying a word in the answer or anything that rhymes with it. You have 1 minute to solve as many cards as you can.

Get the party started with Heads Up (pictures)

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Since the holder of the iPhone should never look at the screen, Heads Up has accelerometer gestures for controlling the game. When you answer a card correctly, turn your iPhone face down to move on to the next card. When your friends have no knowledge of a particular card or you can't guess the answer, turn your iPhone face up to pass and move on to the next card.

At the end of a round, you can see how many cards you got correct and tally up your score. From there you can pass the phone around to see how your friends do. The app also records video of your friends as they try to give you clues, which can be very funny, especially with the active categories. You have the option to share the videos on social networks or just save them for your own enjoyment.

I only found a couple of things about Heads Up that I think could be improved. The game comes with 7 decks of cards, but there are 11 additional decks you can buy through in-app purchase, each for 99 cents. I would prefer if I could get some sort of deal on multiple packs, but as is, if you want a new deck you're going to have to shell out a buck for each one. The other problem is that the game doesn't have a system for keeping track of everyone's score. It's not a big deal to get out a pen and some paper for scoring, but it would be nice if there were a way to add friends' names and have the app keep a tally of the score.

Heads Up a very social game and some of the categories get you off of the couch to act out clues, making for a great party activity. While I haven't tested it yet with a group, it's pretty easy to see how Heads Up could be a lot of fun.


Heads Up for iOS

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 7Interface 8Performance 9