Buzz! has been around for what seems like ages; released in 2005, there have been no fewer than 18 releases in the Buzz! series in those short five years. Now the latest outing for the be-quiffed host arrives in the form of Buzz! The Ultimate Music Quiz, and it’s brought a few Move rounds with it.
If you’ve never played a Buzz! game before, it’s very straightforward. You’re a contestant on a fictional quiz show, with a proprietary plastic controller in your hand topped with a big red buzzer, with four coloured buttons on the front used to select answers. Concepts don’t come much more straightforward, or much more enjoyable; Buzz! was made for roping in friends and family, and the game is as fun as ever.
The enjoyment starts before you’ve even answered your first question. PlayStation Eye owners can use the camera to place a “Paper Face” on their character, taking a snapshot to adorn their on-screen bodies, with the same option to plaster a paper face on the host. You can customise your buzzer sound too by using the Eye’s built-in microphone, paving the way for countless childish, bizarre and downright obscene combinations, and that’s all part of the fun. You can assign a preset name to your profile too, which not only means you can save your photos and sound effects but have the host call your name out in-game, which definitely brings an extra air of fun to proceedings.
As for the game itself, if you’ve played a previous Buzz! game you’ll know what to expect. There’s a range of rounds, from Fastest Finger to Points Stealer, but they all involve the same thing: answering questions correctly, of course. You won’t always play the same rounds in the same order, so each game is completely different, and there’s enough questions that you won’t find yourself repeating them over and over again.
Even if you do find the set of questions a little too familiar, if you’re connected to PlayStation Network you can expand the game’s repertoire in a number of ways. You can shell out for a Quiz Pack from the PlayStation Store, with all the packs released for previous Buzz! titles compatible with this newest entry, creating a considerable library of questions on everything from animals to video games.
If you don’t feel like reaching into your pockets, there’s a vast wealth of quizzes created by users in the My Buzz section. You can search these by keyword, tag or category, or simply let the game select nine options and you pick the one you want for each round. Naturally the quality and difficulty of these quizzes varies greatly, but considering they’re free it’s hard to complain too much. You can create your own quiz as well, using the PS3 or My Buzz quiz portal on a computer, with the former only really recommended if you have a chat pad or USB keyboard.
The questions provided in the standard game vary from classical to rock, old-school to modern, with the losing player often able to select the new category of tunes to give themselves a bit of an assist. Many of the music clips played are covers, some of them completely instrumental, making it difficult to work out the correct answer sometimes as even the most ardent music lover will find themselves clueless at some of the half-arsed renditions.
When it comes to the Move rounds, they’re only playable separately from the main game, meaning you can put the buzzers down for a while and play the four Move-specific games individually or as a Buzz! Move show. It’s a shame you can’t mix up the standard Buzz! quiz with the Move rounds, but it’s understandable to avoid players picking up and putting down the controllers.
Essentially all the minigames play out as augmented reality games where the Move becomes a new implement, a technique that will be familiar to anyone who’s played launch games Start the Party! and EyePet: Move Edition. In each game, questions are represented on screen with slightly different outcomes: in Heavy Metal, Move becomes a magnet used to drag the girder bearing the correct answer to a set of metal teeth; Pop Life sees you bursting the balloons with the incorrect answers using a large dart; Master Blaster gives you a laser gun and a series of UFOs to destroy; and Hammer Time is whack-an-answer by another name.
As a rule the Move games work decently, though none stand out. Pop Life doesn’t seem to detect 3D movement as well as other titles have, which means it can be frustrating as you lunge behind the answer you want to leave only to have the game burst its bubble against your will. They’re all a bit gimmicky and with only four different game types you’re unlikely to spend as much time with this mode as the standard Buzz! quiz, particularly as you can only use the standard questions with Move – custom quizzes are not available here.
If you’re after more players than your living room can comfortably contain, you can take Buzz! online against other players, though this is limited to the buzzer rounds, making Move a strictly offline-only pursuit. Unlike quiz games on other consoles, you’re still competing against players in your living room, ramping up the competitive element even further, and you can choose rematches against contestants who proved a match for your quizzical knowledge. Sadly you can’t use your paper faces online, nor can other users hear your custom buzzers, both for very understandable reasons.
Buzz! The Ultimate Music Quiz is another enjoyable entry in the series, returning to its roots with a range of questions on all things melodic. The regular gameplay is as fun as ever with a few tweaks, and although the paper faces and Move rounds are enjoyable little additions there aren’t any major changes. If you’ve enjoyed previous Buzz! games you’ll lap this up, but after nearly 20 releases the genial host might need to take a break and come up with some fresh material.