Review: Buzz! Quiz World (PSP)

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Last November Matt reviewed Buzz! Quiz World on the PS3 and was highly impressed – which was in contrast with my views on 2008’s Buzz! Master Quiz, so I was thrilled to give the PSP version a try when it was released in December. On the day I downloaded Buzz! Quiz World from the PSN store, my wife and I sat down to play together on my PSPgo and had a blast. But did it last? Read on and find out!

As I said, my wife and I played that first night and the hours just melted away as we played. We played together in single-player, then tried “pass & play” multiplayer, and quickly moved back to single player as it was more fun as a shared experience. More on the multiplayer options later. The initial impressions were very good – the game was bright and cheery with an engaging presentation comprised of solid voice-overs, visuals and music. The gameplay options got us going right away, and although I couldn’t understand why I had to choose a preset name that was never used afterward, it was nice to just get straight to the quizzes.

Buzz! Quiz World consists of several types of quizzes on several subjects. The quiz modes are Points Builder, Quick Fire, Mystery, Snapshot, High Stakes, and Time Challenge. With Points Builder, you get points for answering correctly, more points for answering quickly, but lose points for an incorrect response. Quick Fire is all about answering as quickly as possible; Time Challenge is similar but in that mode the goal is to get as many correct answers as possible before time expires. High Stakes is interesting as it allows you to bet points against answering the next question correctly: get it right and you earn points, incorrect and you lose points. Snapshot pairs up answering questions correctly with uncovering a hidden image and guessing what it is based on seeing a section – and the fewer sections you uncover before guessing, the more points you amass. Mystery assigns you a random quiz type.

The topics are pretty standard quiz show fare: sports, history, trivia, TV, movies, music, and so on. The questions are not overly hard, but naturally some require existing knowledge of certain shows or movies or music types. Questions are given with four possible answers, each mapped to a face button, so accuracy is as important as speed. There is always one answer that is obviously incorrect and more than one that is possibly true, which makes narrowing your answer easier but actually getting the correct choice trickier.

There are several possible ways to play Buzz! Quiz World. First there is a simple single player mode, where you try to work your way through the entire puzzle game one quiz at a time. Alternately you can play with others via infrastructure, ad-hoc or “pass & play: modes. “Pass & play” is the obvious method of playing against someone by handing them your PSP. It seems like a great way to play with someone sitting next to you, but in reality it sucks all of the fun out of this sort of game – you really want to be either cooperating or competing, not watching and waiting.

Infrastructure mode allows you to play against anyone in the world who also has a copy of the game. During my time playing, I never found an online game – so if you do buy this I would assume you will never find a game with anyone online … that way if you do it will be a pleasant surprise! Ad-hoc mode involves playing against someone locally, and let me just give developer Relentless a STANDING OVATION for including ‘game sharing’. Game Sharing allows you to play a limited copy of the game against others locally who don’t own their own game. It is an excellent way to get the feel for the game, and I had fun playing with my kids this way.

Buzz! Quiz World also features a mode called ‘MyBuzz’ that lets you play from quiz-lists uploaded by other users. There are different categories you can choose from or just select a random quiz from the main menu. After playing you can rate it for others to see and even report any inappropriate materials. In general it is a nice feature, though none of the quizzes I saw were nearly on par with the bundled game quizzes. Another complaint is that the quizzes can only be accessed online – there is no way to download them for playing on the go.

I really wanted to love Buzz! Quiz World on the PSP the same way Matt did on the PS3, and the same way my wife and I did when we first started playing, but alas I didn’t stay enamored for long. It is clearly a better game than Buzz! Master Quiz, and if you are a big fan of that game type you owe it to yourself to give this a shot. That said, I also have a fundamental issue with playing what is essentially a party game on what is primarily a single-user platform. No matter what you do, the experience will always pale compared to playing on a console or a TV surrounded by friends.

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Pros:
+ Nicely done graphics
+ Exciting voice-overs put you ‘in the game show’
+ Plenty of quiz modes and content
+ MyBuzz is a great concept
+ Support for game sharing!

Cons:
– MyBuzz doesn’t allow off-line play
– Still suffers as a party game on a solo platform

Game Info:
Platform: PSP via PSN download
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Relentless Software
Release Date: 12/17/09
Genre: Trivia
ESRB Rating: Teen
Players: 1-6
Source: Review code provided by publisher

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About the Author

I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!