Buzz! Master Quiz for PSP (PlayStation Portable) is the latest entry in the Buzz! quiz game series from Sony, even though the “Buzz!” in the title is a bit of a misnomer. After all, this is a portable version of the popular quiz series, so it does not come with the telltale buzzers. Nor does it offer the instant multiplayer mayhem of its predecessors. In fact, the tried-and-true Buzz! formula has been thrown out the window for this PSP incarnation, and with good reason. Carrying around five buzzer peripherals kind of takes the portable out of “portable.” Plus, you’d look really, really stupid.
Even without the peripherals, Buzz! Master Quiz is actually still pretty good. The game is split into two areas, single player and multiplayer, both of which draw from a pool that houses thousands upon thousands of questions. The subjects come from various sources this time around, with no branded specificity, like the old movies one. The questions are split into categories and game types. There are your garden variety quizzes, there are quizzes that will have you arranging words to form titles and names, and there are even quizzes that ask you to identify a person based on a portion of a picture of them. All in all, there are nine types of quizzes, and most are fun. Plus, you can pretend you’re making yourself smarter as you play them. Added bonus.
The single-player “campaign” is sort of arranged like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, in which you unlock difficult tiers of play by completing groups of quizzes in easier levels. It’s no Puzzle Quest, but it does do a lot to mix things up a bit. It’s really helpful to have definitive goals in games like this. That also works for life. Also, if you do really well on a quiz tier, you’ll unlock PlayStation Network trophies, which you can gaze longingly at whenever you want.
And just because there are no buzzers, that doesn’t mean Sony abandoned the multiplayer component — it’s just not quite as instantaneous. The game has a cool “Pass Around” mode that lets you and five friends compete together by all taking turns, with the PSP randomizing which person to pass it to next. It’s pretty cool and has a hot potato feel, only I never had to answer the name of Bill Clinton’s dog while playing hot potato. This would be really fun on a long road trip. Also, if you know some people with PSPs, you can do a locally wireless version with just one UMD. This lacks the hot potato feel, but it does capture some of the magic of earlier versions of the title.
All in all, this is just a quiz game. No wheels were reinvented here. Still, Buzz! Master Quiz is the perfect title for a quick subway ride, or if you’re the type of person who likes to play a video game for a few minutes before falling asleep. The quizzes are challenging, the controls work fine, and in my weeks fiddling with this game, I’ve yet to see too many repeat questions. That’s really all you can ask from a quiz game, right?
Buy Buzz Master Quiz from Amazon.
- Score: 8
— Lawrence Bonk