Buzz! Master Quiz (PSP)

Buzz for the PlayStation Portable seems like a no brainer, really. Looking at the franchise, you can see how someone might have thought that the quiz game would work on the PSP. But the question is… does it?

Buzz for the PlayStation Portable seems like a no brainer, really. Looking at the franchise, you can see how someone might have thought that the quiz game that’s raking in the dough would work on the PSP. I admit, I was excited about it when the first screenshot brushed my desk.

Back in the nineties, games based off of game shows were big things and you could find Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and even in the beginning of the current decade titles stemming from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire; nothing however felt like the full party attitude that a game like Buzz brought out of people.

All of that might change with the release of Buzz! Master Quiz for the PlayStation Portable.

Except it probably won’t, to be honest, because Buzz! Master Quiz isn’t very good.

Sadly, Master Quiz suffers from several shortcomings that really drag it down, and they’re the sort of thing which you really have to be surprised at Sony for not realising while designing the game.

Problems like a drab presentation while you’re actually playing the game make you feel as if the game doesn’t really care if you play it or not. That’s very different from say Buzz on the PlayStation 3, a game that is having fun with you as you play it. Buzz PSP lacks this and every time you hear Buzz talk, you’re likely to feel lost between insulted that the dialogue is flat or insulted that Buzz has just said the same bloody line of speech not ten seconds ago.

That’s the biggest problem with Buzz! Master Quiz as you’re really just answering questions against dry sound & music. The only time that the presentation is actually anywhere near as stimulating as say Buzz for home consoles is when the intro animations pop up for each game, and then you have to deal with how mundane the games really are.

No matter what you do, almost every single game you play is boring. Sure, you might get into the answering of questions quickly in the first few rounds, but the moment you find that the level structure is arranged so that you’re playing 3 levels followed by a master round over and over again, the whole “reason to play” quickly gets buzzed out. Later on, you’ll find that the single-player mode might just tip you over the edge when after playing all the levels, nothing actually happens.

It’s as if Sony designed this with the expressed intention of only playing it in short bursts and then forgot to tell everyone.

Buzz! Master Quiz even touts itself as having “over 3000 questions” but while I’m not sure how the question engine randomises itself, I found myself repeating questions after an hour of play.

Luckily, Buzz! Master Quiz has a multiplayer mode for those of you who feel so inclined. This occurs one of two ways:

  • Playing against friends with PSP consoles and a copy of the game
  • Passing the PSP around

I do like the sound of that last one, but seriously, mention the thought of passing your console around and you’ll be greeted with the face of someone who is about to utter the words “lame”. They’re right, too.

What bugs me most about Buzz! Master Quiz is what it is compared to the competition. There really hasn’t been a great portable quiz game for the current portable gaming systems and this doesn’t help bolster the attitude that there will be.

Back in the mid-to-late nineties, Berkeley Systems & Jellyvision came out with the You Don’t Know Jack titles, game-show games that worked solely on witty dialogue, fictional radio advertisements, quirky questions, and an animation style almost entirely made up of simple vector art. To be honest, something like that would have worked ten times better than Buzz! Master Quiz because YDKJ was fun, interesting, and while it insulted you quite frequently in fun ways, it didn’t insult the very reason you were playing the game by making it anything other than entertaining. It was always something enjoyable that fit onto a CD quite easily.

Had Buzz! Master Quiz been designed better than what it was, it too could have been great fun just like You Don’t Know Jack. But in the face of great titles like Buzz! Quiz TV for the PlayStation 3 and the previous plethora of Buzz for the PlayStation 2, this PSP version just doesn’t stand up unless you need a quick fix for trivia and you’re on the go. Don’t expect any long term play out of it because you’ll just be left sleeping.

Developer: Relentless Software
Publisher: Sony
Classification: PG
Formats: PlayStation Portable
URL: Buzz! Master Quiz

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark