Review: Buzz! Quiz World (PSP)January 14th, 2010 | Written by Chris Selogy | Topic: Reviews, Sony PSP
When you’re not near a TV and PS3, the need to test your knowledge of useless trivia with friends or coworkers and the new Buzz game on the PSP is there to fill that niche. Buzz! Quiz World is the first PSP entry in the series that is supposed to be identical to its PS3 counterpart, but all is not well with this version. This particular version falls short in a few key areas to keep it from living up to the standards of its console brethren.
While you can see how the PS3 version of Buzz! Quiz World turned out, the PSP version gets a number of improvements of its own and borrows a few things from its PS3 counterpart. Online play between four players is now available for the first time along with support for the MyBuzz! quizzes players have been making for over a year now to be played in the single-player mode. Most of the characters have come over with a couple of new characters that are locked in the challenge mode that is single-player-only. There will also be support for quiz packs to expand the 3,000 included songs, which has already started with one pack available right now for $3. The large set of the PS3 version is gone for a simpler and more intimate approach to the presentation that fits well on the PSP screen.
The single-player modes have been a weakness of past versions of Buzz! and Quiz World on the PSP does well in offering something that’s at least entertaining for a while. The main Challenge Mode is where you can unlock four more characters to use anywhere else in the game, which includes two characters from the PS3 version and two new characters. The mode itself features four sets of challenges where you must play through eight rounds of different types of quizzes to unlock the specific character you first picked, which are mostly just ten question quizzes where you try to get enough points to earn a bronze, silver, or gold medal and the best score possible. If you’ve purchased a quiz pack, you can play through some of its questions in the Quiz Pack mode. For probably the only meaningful use of online in the game, you can also play MyBuzz! quizzes that players have created through the MyBuzz! website, which always comes with the chance of bad quizzes whenever you venture into user-created content.
Multiplayer is the obvious draw for a game like Buzz! Quiz World and there’s a bit of a snag in that department. That snag is that the online mode is completely barren. Even creating a room and waiting 30 minutes for other players before giving up, it’s easy to see that you’re going to have to rely on nearby friends for multiplayer satisfaction. The good thing is that Quiz World supports most possible scenarios, like passing around one PSP, hooking up multiple PSP’s over local WiFi, and an odd Quiz Host mode that lets you control scoring to host your own event. If you have friends that want to compare trivia skills at any point, this seems like a decent way to go about that to give the game some worth for the crowd of PSP-only owners that don’t have access to a PS3 for the superior multiplayer of that version.
There are definitely some bad things that affect the core things we’ve come to expect from this series that hurts the appeal further for Quiz World. With a smaller amount of questions than the PS3 versions of Buzz!, this version doesn’t do so well with the flow of questions and topics by using certain videos and music multiple times for different questions on the same subject that felt like it appeared more often than it should if there are 3,000 questions to work with here. Another issue is that you’re never shown the correct answer to questions you miss, which might also mean that they’re put back into the pool of possible questions for another time. Buzz is probably the biggest detriment to this game’s appeal as he talks all throughout the menus as he makes fun of you and talks smack to the point that muting the game is a must until you start a quiz. Even then, his remarks in the middle of a quiz can be a detriment when you’re in a type of quiz where you need to answer questions quickly to get a chance at a bigger score, which you can’t skip when you see the timer running out because Buzz can’t shut up.
Avoiding all of the big set pieces and expressive characters of past versions of the series, Buzz! Quiz World on the PSP features a simple interface that is more about form and function over fancy presentation. You get to see the questions and the possible answers while Buzz looks on as he throws in quips and observations from time to time. There are video, photo, and audio examples that are used for questions and is nice, though they can be used a bit too often for similar questions based on the same subject. Buzz’s portion of the audio has already been touched on, though the music part of the experience is very similar to what you may have heard before with this series. It’s not overbearing at all and more or less just feels like typical simple background music you’d find in suspenseful quiz shows on TV.
Buzz! Quiz World for the PSP had the potential to be a great compliment to the PS3 version by offering a similar but portable-friendly experience that fit the PSP well, but numerous annoyances, odd handling of the large pool of questions, and completely barren online play makes the group this game could appeal to a very small crowd. The only people that really should take a chance on this game are those that have friends interested in testing their quiz skills with no access to a PS3 since the multiplayer experience is quite a bit more appealing with the buzzers, a TV, and the great presentation that you can find on the console. If you do have a PS3, get that version of Buzz! Quiz World and if not, wait until you do have a PS3 to get in on the Buzz! action.