What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a handheld version of Sony's popular Buzz! trivia game series, and that like other games in the franchise it features questions that slant toward a teens-and-up audience. Its simplified design has seen the removal of much in the way of the series' sometimes racy cartoon antics, as well as its sexualized female contestants. Many of the questions have a somewhat commercial nature, as they focus on celebrities, popular media, and consumer products and companies. As with other games in the Buzz! series, it can make for a satisfying social experience when played with small groups of friends in the same room.
What's it about?
BUZZ! MASTER QUIZ for Sony's PlayStation Portable marks the first time this popular quiz game franchise has hit the small screen, so to speak. Some of the series' signature style has been carried along -- including several popular contestant avatars as well as host Buzz himself -- but the play feels quite a bit different than in previous Buzz! games. This could be because, while other games in the series have focused almost entirely on multiplayer, the main mode here is a single-player challenge in which players work through 15 quizzes, winning special trophies and awards for their performance along the way. There are three multiplayer modes that can be played with between one and six PSPs, but without the franchise's trademark Buzzer controllers, they too lack the look and feel of other Buzz! games.
Is it any good?
The single-player portion of the game won't take more than an hour or two to work through. However, expect to spend a lot more time with it if you want to get gold trophies in all of the quizzes. The questions in Buzz! Master Quiz can be so hard as to verge on feeling unfair. For example, one question shows a picture that has been blacked out save a small square that reveals a patch of blue and comes with the query: What kind of bluebird is this? Most people would have trouble identifying that it was a picture of a bird, much less the exact species. Even an ornithologist would likely be forced to guess the answer.
The multiplayer modes also feature some unreasonable questions, but they're a little easier to stomach, since the object isn't to try to get as many questions correct as you can but rather simply compete against others who are facing the same challenges. The most satisfying multiplayer mode is Game Sharing, which runs up to six players through a series of traditional first-to-buzz-in-style trivia questions, but it requires that each player have their own PSP. As a result, the most popular multiplayer game type will likely be Pass Around, which sees players answering single questions by themselves before passing the PSP off to the next player. Host mode, which has one person assuming hosting duties and reading off questions for everyone else, might be fun if you happen to have a ham in the group.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how this handheld interpretation of the Buzz! experience stacks up against other games in the series. Did you enjoy passing one PSP around with your friends in Pass Around? Did you have fun playing the role of a television game show MC in Host mode? Did you find the new single-player mode compelling?