Jenga makes for a fun party game, whether you play it using traditional wooden blocks, Cat Jenga tiles, or a collapsible tower facing Godzilla’s wrath. Apparently, someone out there looked at the classic balancing game and thought to themselves, “This will be more fun if you can get electrocuted while playing.” At least, that’s how we’re guessing the Shizap! came to life.
A modified version of Jenga, the game involves stacking translucent plastic blocks on top of a LED-lit platform, allowing you to create glowing structures level by level. Except, this version adds a random jolt of electricity when adding or removing blocks, requiring you to either rush through your move to avoid the random jolt or control your physical reactions when it hits, so you don’t end up knocking the whole thing over.
The ShiZap! consists of a powered base unit, 39 translucent plastic blocks, and a pair of tweezers that you can use to gently stack and remove blocks from the structure. Like regular Jenga, you stack the blocks on top of the base, building them as high as they will go, except instead of using your fingers, you need to use the tweezers for a more gentle touch. No, the gentle touch isn’t the only thing the tweezers do, as they are also the source of the electric jolt that will randomly hit whoever’s holding them, adding a potentially challenging twist to the game, depending on how you respond to getting very lightly electrocuted.
The base, of course, serves as more than a platform. It also contains four LEDs that add a fancy light show to your Jenga game, as well as speakers that play what the outfit describes as “panic-inducing” music to make each round feel even more tense. There also a couple of adjustable settings on there, namely the intensity of the shocks (they offer three levels) and game mode (standard shock game or extended shocks for those who topple the stack).
Because of the integrated LEDs, the ShiZap! can actually be played in the dark. In fact, it’s probably best played in that environment, as the darkness should add an even more ominous air to the fear-inducing random shocks and panic music that plays through the onboard speakers. Yes, that sounds dark, but watching your friends scream and involuntarily jerk their arm after getting jolted with a light current actually makes it pretty funny. If they end up knocking down the tower, even better.
It powers using three AAA batteries, by the way, so just make sure to have fresh ones on hand if you plan to play this at a party. Oh yeah, the outfit recommends using lithium-ion batteries. While it will work with standard alkaline cells, the game can only go for 40 minutes of continuous play with them, all while extending to a whopping four hours of gameplay using lithium-ion units. Since it’s a balancing game, it’s playable by a single player or a full party, although we have a feeling it will be pretty depressing playing this thing on your own.