The BUZZ! franchise is fantastic. With its simple controllers, welcoming interface, and practical approach to gameplay, itâ€™s a series that is open to anyone and everyone. However, as a party starter, BUZZ! really relies on the fact that four controllers are included and a console-TV setup allows for an instantly social experience. Could the same be said about a version you can play outside?
Yes and no, it seems. There are some obvious concessions â€“ no buzzers, presentation downgrades, etc â€“ but none of these really matter when addressing the concept of a portable BUZZ! game. It looks good, it sounds good, and Buzz is just as annoying as heâ€™s ever been. Whatâ€™s really important is whether it captures the essence and fun of the BUZZ! gameplay.
BUZZ! has always had a ridiculously shallow single-player mode â€“ to the point where it sometimes ridicules you as Johnny No-Mates if you play it â€“ and BUZZ! Master Quiz is no different. It asks a range of multi-choice questions and spatial challenges while trying to create a tense experience with a few obstacles. For example, virus attack sees your score being depleted as you take your time answering the question.
Honestly, itâ€™s all a bit dull. The only motivation comes from beating your previous high score, and there really isnâ€™t that much incentive to do it. You can also unlock trophies for various efforts, such as answering a question under a second, but not being able to show these off online makes them rather pointless.
In short, if you are thinking about getting BUZZ! Master Quiz to entertain you on the bus to work every morning, donâ€™t.
However, BUZZ! Master Quiz, surprisingly, offers a rather enjoyable multiplayer experience. There are two ways to play with others: you can either game share with other PSPs using a single copy of the game, or you can pass the PSP around between six people.
Game sharing keeps the frantic nature of the BUZZ! experience, but due to limitations with the technology keeps most questions as a simple text affair. Itâ€™s fun enough, but the chances of everyone having a PSP on hand to whip out and start an impromptu party is rather slim anyway.
As if aware of this, BUZZ! Master Quiz contains a mode that only requires one PSP and one copy of the game, and players simply take turns as they pass the PSP around. On paper, that might sound like it removes the fun of BUZZ!, but there has been some serious thought applied to designing this mode.
Players are able to mess with others in ways that would actually be impossible if played on a constantly visible interface. For example, one mode has a player obscuring all but part of a picture, and then passing the PSP on for the next player to guess what the original image was.
The result is that screams of anguish occur from real bastardry rather than mere differences in reflexes. In fact, it actually makes BUZZ! a more enjoyable experience to those who find it frustrating to play against nimble fingered opponents. (Hi Dad!) Itâ€™s this imaginative approach to the game design that really saves BUZZ! Master Quiz from becoming a pointless venture and actually a worthy purchase in its own right. For that, applause is appropriate: bravo, Relentless Software, bravo!
Itâ€™s not actually too hard to see someone pulling out their PSP with a copy of the game and getting a decent gaming session started. It might not be worth playing if you have a console copy of BUZZ! in your home, but for long road trips or prolonged ventures outside the house, itâ€™s definitely worth looking into. Ultimately, if you have a PSP, if you like BUZZ!, and you think youâ€™re going to find yourself in situations where passing around a multiplayer game with some friends seems viable, then BUZZ! Master Quiz is a sound investment.