It’s nearly time to bust out your stash of party games and peripherals in preparation for the silly season. Microphones, drums and guitars are all very well for the musically inclined, but when it comes to entertainment that is accessible to the talentless masses, you can’t go past Buzz! as a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
The series of trivia-based titles has managed to remain delightfully tacky, glitzy, challenging, humorous and fun, and the latest offering: Buzz! Quiz World shows no signs of departing from that trend, as we soon discovered.
For those new to the Buzz! franchise, up to eight players compete across a number of mostly wacky trivia rounds on a fake TV game show, where everything is over the top – from the puntastic host with his tailored suits and blond bouffant, to the caricatured contestants, to the huge on-screen set – and even the bespoke buzzer controllers with their big, red flashing buttons.
Speaking of which, here’s a shameless plug for the new wireless buzzers: if you play any of the Buzz! titles on a semi-regular basis – or if you are looking at getting a second set for those 8 player sessions, these are well worth the investment. Anyone who has ever had to untangle the snarl of wires prior to playing will be nodding wisely at this point. Wireless is definitely the way to go.
Part of the game’s appeal lies in its ease of use. There’s no real eye-hand coordination required; just some well timed button pushing. Even Nana can manage that… and with a lifetime’s worth of accumulated knowledge she’d probably give the grand kids a run for their money!
Buzz! Quiz World doesn’t depart from the ‘tried and true’ of past titles; however it does boast some new features that are well worth a mention. A vast name 'bank' means you can now attach a moniker (e.g. John, Mum, Muscles) to your profile, and Buzz will seamlessly incorporate it into his dialogue. The stream of insults and accolades are so much more effective when they are personalised. There’s no such thing as leaving the past behind you either, as Buzz will remember your previous performance and drag it out into the open.
As well as the series regulars from previous Buzz! titles there are some new contestants to choose from; each with their own hilarious expressions and animations. Likewise, there are some interesting new rounds to complement the old favourites. You can also pick and choose between them to create a custom quiz. In our opinion this flexibility is what gives the game so much replay value.
With over 5000 questions the pool of trivia is large enough that the chance of doubling up is remote; over many hours of play we never experienced a single repeat. The ability to create your own quizzes and to play against others online is yet another attractive feature of the game. Groups of contestants can play against each other across the globe, and for the most part it works extremely well. Buzz! Quiz World is not without its disappointments, however. One is still the loneliest number; the single player rounds - there are only two of them - are extremely limited and quite frankly not much fun without someone else to compete against.
With regard to graphics, panoramic camera angles and dynamic lighting create the look and feel of a huge TV set, while clever use of focus draws the eye to our merciless quiz master and his contestants. Add to that plenty of background movement from a large studio audience, and you have the makings of a realistic game show experience. The pyrotechnics aren’t a necessity, but we love them anyway. The visuals are accompanied by some high quality music and sound effects, and well delivered dialogue (which is no less than expected, really).
On the PS3 the game's new features and tweaks have resulted in a polished product, which offers a more immersive game show experience than ever before. We had a lot of fun with Buzz! Quiz World and can thoroughly recommend it for your next get-together. Game on!