Buzz!: Brain Bender is the second in the Buzz series to hit the PSP and 8th in the main series. Fans of the series may be surprised that this time around Buzz will ditch the series roots in favor of a more puzzling affair. It doesn’t fit into the main series; while Brain Bender keeps the wisecracking host of the previous games, it doesn’t bring back the quizzes, acting more like PlayStation Portable’s answer to Brain Training on DS.
Buzz!: Brain Bender starts you off with a test to see your current level of intelligence – probably ending by telling you you’re an idiot… or not. From here, you can train your brain via a selection of mini-games sorted into these categories: observation, memory, analysis and calculation. Each mini-game has three levels of difficulty – easy, normal and hard – and you play through each to unlock the next, keeping in mind a bronze star is required to move onto the next difficulty.
Once you get started you’ll have to play against the clock, so the quicker you get your response in the more questions you get and more likely you are to get a star. You only need to get a bronze in every training mini-game to unlock the challenges. Although some challenges require getting a star in every game on hard difficulty, while the others will accept one on easy.
When it comes to multiplayer modes Buzz brings it with Brain Battle, pitting you against a friend in a four round match. You can customize each round or play random games from each category. The great thing about this multiplayer mode is that both players take turns on the PSP, eliminating the need for a second handheld or UMD.
Based on the preview code it seems as though Buzz has successfully switched genres for a very complete puzzle title.
Pros: A successful attempt at switching genres.
Cons: The host’s voice can get annoying.