In the wake of the domination of the Wii, companies like Microsoft and Sony have been forced to start making party games to get some of that casual gaming demographic. We’ve seen the 360 version of Scene It and now Sony brings us not one, but two Buzz! games. First is Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz game. It’s directly competing with Scene It but it takes the genre to different heights. Second is Buzz! Jr.: Robo Jam, which gives the youngsters a chance to join in the Buzz! fun without the difficulty of knowing a bunch of useless Hollywood trivia. Has Sony cracked the casual party game market with Buzz!? Read on to find out.
Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz
Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz is a mixture of Jeopardy, Wheel Of Fortune, Trivial Pursuit, Scene It and a very old favorite, You Don’t Know Jack. Up to 4 players can compete with each other by answering questions about Hollywood films. The game is played using the Buzz! controllers. Each Buzz! controller has 4 small colored buttons and one huge, red, Buzz! button. The controllers are all connected together and plugs into a USB port on your PS2 or PS3.
Graphically it’s a step back, even for a PS2 game. Buzz! however, is not about the graphics, it’s about the gameplay. You can choose your own character at the beginning of the game and then select different versions of that character that suit your taste. There are several different or game types that you will go through in an entire game of Buzz! Hollywood. If answering questions about tinsel town ever gets boring, there’s always the round where you get to throw pies at the other players. Some of the rounds require you to press several of the buttons and others only need you to press one button really fast. All of your points are used in the last level to calculate how much time you have in your countdown timer. So the better you do throughout the game, the better chance you have of outlasting everyone one during the last round and winning the game.
It is fun to play with 2, 3 or 4 people, but you can also play with 8. It’s so fun you want to play over and over again. The problem with games like this however, is that it’s not fun to play alone. So unless you have friends over frequently, Buzz! may collect dust. In fact, it might get the same rotation as the board games sitting in the closet. Party games are an untapped market on the PS2 system and considering it’s worldwide domination and sales to casual gamers, this type of game should be more prevalent.
Buzz! Jr.: Robo Jam
Unlike Buzz! Hollywood, Robo Jam takes the Mario Party aspect into play. This means you are going to get some very different and unique games. In Robo Jam up to 4 players can pick and customize the look of a robot. Once you pick your robot you are off to take on many different challenges. There are a total of 24 different games. Some require the use of all the Buzz! buttons, others require just the colored buttons and some require just the Buzz! button.
Buzz! Jr.: Robo Jam is targetted to children. It’s easier for them to play than Buzz! Hollywood because it doesn’t require gobs of movie knowledge to play. That’s not to say kids won’t like Buzz! Hollywood. In fact, I thought that Buzz! Jr. was more fun to play than Hollywood because of the variety in games. Buzz! Jr. is also more competitive being that you sometimes have to do something to your other players to get ahead.
Again, I wasn’t impressed graphically with the game. It’s a step back for PS2. Games like this however don’t rely on shiny graphics or deep storylines to draw people in. It’s all about fun factor. Knowing this, I can’t recommend playing alone as you will be bored out of your mind. Maybe if you crank up the difficulty of the robots to the hardest level, you might find a challenge.
Buzz! Jr.: Robo Jam is a great party game and should be played at parties. I can only hope that Sony continues to add more Buzz! games to their library. The more things you can do with the 4 Buzz! controllers, the better. I would also like to see a wireless version of the controllers like Scene It for the Xbox 360. I’m always getting the wires tangled and it makes a mess on my desk. Other than that, I would recommend this for children and adults. Don’t let the Jr. title scare you away!