Dec. 1, 2008 -- "Buzz! Quiz TV" is a great example of a game that takes aim at what it wants to be and hits the bull's-eye.
"Buzz!" was not going for intense, realistic battle like many first-person shooters, or intense, realistic racing like the many driving games out there. It was meant to be an entertaining, challenging, interactive and fun trivia game, and that it is.
The Relentless Software-developed game may come up short on a few smaller points, but overall, it is a game for the whole family, or a group of competitive friends, to enjoy thoroughly.
Buzz, Man! As If Your Life Depended on It!
"Buzz!" comes with four wireless buzzers (batteries not included) that control the action on the screen.
While this may seem more like a gimmick than anything, holding the buzzer and trying desperately to ring in helps the players really feel like they are part of the game.
The buzzers rarely, if ever, lagged behind the action on the screen -- so the fault for any late buzzing should be placed squarely on the buzzee, not the buzzer.
Through the course of the game, players can choose from various pop culture categories and then jump into the first of several trivia-game variations. Whoever eventually totals the most points is the winner. But thanks to the variety of the levels, the scoring system is not nearly as boring as it sounds.
In one of the later levels, for instance, whoever answers a question correctly can steal points from another player to add to his or her own -- a tool that can vastly change the scoring landscape with one quick click of the buzzer. Another level allows the winning player to toss a pie at any competitor he chooses, adding insult to point-injury.
Its ability to create rifts between once-friends aside, "Buzz!" creates an environment of lighthearted competition with the animated show host egging everyone on.
The lively host is an example of what is simultaneously one of the game's greatest strengths and one of its most glaring weaknesses: characters and extremely limited customization.
While the game looks sharp and the beautifully rendered character models are appropriately outlandish and entertaining, there are surprisingly few to choose from. Also, there is little room for customization beyond perhaps a uniform color change.
For a game that is not forced to bear the burden of massive, realistic environments, it seems some of the extra hardware capability could have been spent on a great variety of characters or on even a simple character-creation system.
Taking the game online is another welcome tool, but it suffers from the restriction of only allowing one player to compete online against others.
One area in which the game shines is the user-generated quizzes.
Players can create their own quizzes with anything from personal family-related questions like "If Dad loses the remote control, where will he most likely find it?" (to be played in-house) to quizzes focused on obscure subject matter that players around the world may want to challenge themselves with like "How many different lightsabers appear in the 'Star Wars' movies?"
User-generated quizzes can be graded by gamers, meaning both quiz makers and quiz takers will be on the lookout for good scores.
Overall, gamers will be hard-pressed not to have a few friends over, pop in "Buzz! Quiz TV" and have anything but a good time. But be quick with the buzzer, no one likes a pie in the face.
"Buzz! Quiz TV" is rated "Teen" and is available for the PlayStation 3 video game console.