Giving you a ‘Heads Up’
that this app is huge fun!

First impressions  

I was recently complaining about the fact that the 42” flat-screen TV in my living room had died on me. We had to replace it with the similarly sized TV from my bedroom that same night, leaving me to fend for myself with the substandard 21-incher from the spare room. 

The idea of being without a TV for even an hour seemed foreign to both me and my friends, showing how much some of us have come to rely on technology for entertainment. If the Internet had gone at the same time, the ambulance would have been the next thing up the drive to take me to the emergency room. 

Whatever happened to the days of board games and interacting with others, instead of mindlessly watching TV with our smartphones in hand? Well the Heads Up! app does, admittedly, rely on access to a tablet or smartphone, but it does take folks away from being fixated on their televisions, and back to a simpler time of games that require social interaction. 

I know – witchcraft! 

How it works  

If you’re a fan of “Ellen,” you may already be familiar with this app, as she often ropes her celebrity guests into playing. It all works kinda along the same line as Charades. 

First you have to choose your category. This can be anything from “Animals Gone Wild” to “Icons, Legends & Stars.” Some of these allow speaking, but the “Act It Out” category is just like Charades – all action and no talking. 

Once the category is chosen, the guesser holds the smartphone to their forehead with the screen facing out toward everyone else, or, if it’s a tablet, they can just hold it out in front of them (as an iPad on the forehead might be overkill). 

There is a countdown to the fun beginning, and then it’s on! Everyone has only one minute (at the start) to madly demonstrate, gesticulate and do everything they can to reveal to the person with the device on their forehead, what the heck the secret phrase is, ergo this is probably not a game to be played at a fine dining restaurant. With each correct word, the next one comes up, and the time gets shorter. The faster you guess, the more you get right, the better your score. 

If the guesser gets it right in time, the crowd will alert them, and then they simply tip their device forward to record a correct answer, and move on to the next word or phrase. If they cannot grasp what the bunch of crazed lunatics in front of them are trying to do, they can tip their device upward in order to “pass” and move on. This is a better choice than just letting the time wind down, because once you run out of time, your turn is over. 

Now when you first activated this app, do you remember it asking you if it could access your microphone? That’s ‘cos it also records all the madness happening in front of you. Those friends of yours, jumping, contorting, speaking in strange accents and generally transforming into unrecognizable characters, are all captured on video and audio, so when the round is over, you can recap their fantastic interpretations. You can also save them if you wish, but whether others will allow you to do so is another matter. 

When you manage to exhaust all the categories that the app offers for free, you can purchase others for the very reasonable price of $0.99 each. Categories like “Adult Supervision,” “70s Fever,” “Movie Buff,” and “Broadway Baby” are bound to keep you entertained for weeks. You can even “Build Your Own Deck” for $0.99 and write your own cards! It’s the gift that keeps on giving. 

When I tried it  

This was the best fun I’ve had in a long time. I tested it with work colleagues and then at home. Both times, we were all in fits of laughter. My Russian accent was appalling, and my sister’s impersonation of a praying mantis would have Sir David Attenborough weeping for our souls. The editor of Weekender, Joanna Lewis, was lying on the floor rolling about for nearly 30 seconds before I realized that she was supposed to be “Sunbathing” as opposed to “Dead.” 

Not only was it hilarious when we were playing, but the video capture was equally funny, particularly when the guesser accidentally put their thumb over the camera in their excitement. 

By the time we’d finished testing it out (for scientific purposes, of course), everyone was asking what the app was called, so they could download it from iTunes. 

Final thoughts  

Who doesn’t love a board game night? But sometimes clearing off the dining table (am I the only one with this issue?), finding a night when people are free, and generally preparing for the evening can be a major hindrance. Heads Up! can be played anywhere at anytime – it’s a great spontaneous game where all you need is a mobile phone or tablet and a few participants. 

At only $0.99, it’s worth its weight in gold. 


  • Inexpensive. Loads of fun. Carry it with you everywhere. 


  • Trusting that some of those videos won’t see the public light of day. 
  • Heads Up!
Cost: $0.99
Seller: Warner Bros.
Devices: iOS and Android
Rating: E for Everyone (without the Adult added pack) 

How would you even begin to act out this one?


There are many categories to choose from that come free with the app.