Judging by the decades worth of reactions from the folks prompted to "Come on down!" on "The Price is Right," joining a game show is super fun. Sony and Relentless Software's "Buzz!" successfully captured such an experience for the PlayStation 2. Now, the interactive quiz show franchise has come to the PS3 and PlayStation Portable for the first time.
"Buzz! Quiz TV" ($59.99, PlayStation 3) offers more bells and whistles than its PS2 predecessor, including user-generated content, downloadable question packs, online play and wireless buzzers. However, the actual gameplay hasn't received much of an upgrade and feels less spontaneous than the original. That doesn't mean "Buzz!" isn't a blast. It is.
The basic setup remains the same as before. Multiple players pick wacky avatars, outfits and buzzer sounds then join an interactive multiple-choice quiz show hosted by an over-the-top master of ceremonies named Buzz (voiced by Australian soap star Jason Donovan). As the game progresses, goofy Buzz intuitively praises the winners and mocks the losers.
While "Quiz TV" can be played alone, the solitary experience doesn't quite do the interactive experience justice. With the right combination of motivated players (not included), audiovisual equipment (also not included) and maybe even booze, "Quiz TV" can transform your living into something resembling "The Price is Right" set in CBS Television City.
Fans of the previous version of "Buzz!" or anyone who owns a Nintendo Wii will appreciate the updated functionality. The convenient new wireless controllers work with the old game while the tangled-up old buzzers work with the new game. Perhaps the only downside is that the easy-to-use wireless buzzers each require AA batteries.
Players can tackle a cornucopia of questions or customize their queries from five different channels music, sports, lifestyle, brainiac or movies and TV as well as the user-generated quizzes from the MyBuzz! site. Unfortunately, "Quiz TV" lacks the ability to decide game length, rounds or difficulty level, making for a sometimes repetitive experience.
"Buzz! Master Quiz" ($19.99 for PlayStation Portable) awkwardly attempts to bring the game show experience to Sony's handheld system. There are three gameplay modes, which include a solo option and a connected multiplayer mode that allows other PSP users participate in a scaled-down version of the game, even if a "Buzz!" disc is not loaded onto their system.
The game retains the same look and feel of the at-home editions. Instead of a buzzer, players tap corresponding PSP buttons to answer questions, including many that utilize neat photo and video clues. Unfortunately, "Master Quiz" can't overcome its medium. The wonky gameplay just doesn't induce the same faux game show excitement as the console versions.
"Buzz! Quiz TV": Three out of four stars.
"Buzz! Master Quiz": Two out of four stars.