A quick peruse through the App Store reveals no shortage of quiz and trivia-based games. But one Icelandic company that recently decamped to the Valley before raising more than $2m in capital, reckons there’s a huge gap for something a little special in this particular category.

Plain Vanilla Games has finally lifted the lid on QuizUp, which it’s touting as the “biggest trivia game in the world”, featuring 100,000 questions across 300 categories.

QuizUp follows the likes of Words With Friends by letting you pit your wits against both friends and strangers from around the world. It also includes one-to-one messaging, discussion boards, and localized leaderboards by city, state and country.

Here’s a quick snapshot of QuizUp.

How it works

You can sign up with email or Facebook, after which you can choose your specialized subjects, or simply plump for general knowledge.

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You can hit ‘Play Now’, where you’ll be put up against randoms. ‘Challenge’ is where you tap your buddies, though you will have to connect through Facebook for this, which is a shame. There is a pretty well-hidden manual search feature though that lets you bypass the Facebook pre-requisite and search for buddies by username – go to ‘Friends’ in the main menu, then click the bottom left icon that says ‘QuizUp’ on it – voila. You can also connect up with Twitter, Game Center and your address book in this section.

When you choose to play a stranger, it will eke out the most suitable candidate based on your playing history – so if you’re a noob, you’ll likely be put up against a fellow noob.

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From here on in, you’ll be fighting against the clock to answer each question, for which you have ten seconds for each of the seven rounds.

This should be short enough to prevent any serious Googling, though it is tight – it’s probably still possible to type a question quickly and get the answer. But what’s the point of cheating, you’re only cheating yourself, etc etc.

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Over time, you gain points and build your credibility…

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…and you can drill down to see stats on each game, before finally deciding to get your friends involved if you’ve only been playing randoms thus far.

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In the main menu, you can view your history, general discussions and direct messages, which definitely elevates QuizUp into social networking territory, though only time will tell whether it will gain sufficient virality to drive enough buzz on this front.

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Passing level 10 in any category lets users unlock titles that can be added to their profiles, such as Dough Boy (Level 10 in Logos) or Car Zar (Level 10 in Cars).

Interestingly, although the game is very much about ‘real-time’, you can actually start games without an opponent. The gameplay is recorded, so once the other player is ready, the platform will sync the gameplay to make it appear as though its’ real-time.

“Gaming is a natural way for people to connect – people like to play games together, challenge each other, and learn more about one another,” explains Thor Fridriksson, founder and CEO of Plain Vanilla Games. “Through interest-based games like trivia, players are enjoying the game while also connecting with a friend or a fellow-fan without even knowing it. Our goal with QuizUp was to bring trivia fans the biggest, most addictive, trivia game that ever existed, with categories that span the interest spectrum.”

QuizUp is certainly a well constructed and designed game which, for free, should gain many fans. It also provides in-app purchases to let you ‘level up’ faster – these XP (experience points) boosters cost $1.99 (double boost), $3.99 (triple boost) and $5.99 (quadruple boost), and means you’ll gain more XP when  the boosts are on for each game you play.

QuizUp is available on the App Store now, with an Android incarnation coming “soon”.

QuizUp | App Store