Becoming A Contestant
If you’ve played the other Buzz! titles, you know that the point of the game is to answer trivia questions. These
questions are presented in a game show format, with a variety of round types and topics to play through. The show is hosted by a character, Buzz, that reminds me of Kermit the Frog with a British accent. He only chimes in from time to time though, and a more ‘standard’ male voice reads off the questions, which are simultaneously displayed on screen. Games generally take fifteen to thirty minutes to complete, depending on a several factors, with the victor determined by several other factors, like round type (details on those later).
Players interact with controllers made specifically for the game known as Buzzers. With Quiz World, up to eight players are supported, twice that of Quiz TV, although no version of the game ships with eight controllers (you either get four or none). The Buzzers with Quiz World are exactly the same as the ones from Quiz TV, so if you already own a set, you don’t have to buy new ones, which will save you more than twenty dollars. These Buzzers are wireless, comfortable, durable, and very well designed. They also come synced and ready to use with the pen-drive size USB transceiver right out of the box. Just two AA batteries are required per Buzzer. In addition to the large red button, there are four long buttons corresponding to four colors: blue, orange, green, and yellow. Each trivia question is a multiple choice question with four color-marked answers. A small sliding power switch on the side of the controller makes it nearly impossible to inadvertently press, yet perfectly simple to turn the controller on and off. With only 2.4Ghz RF connectivity and a couple of lights to power, batteries will easily last dozens of hours.
Enter the Quiz World
So now that you have a more complete idea of what Buzz! is all about, what specifically does Quiz World bring to the
table? Eight player support, new game modes and rounds, an enhanced presentation, lots of new customization options, improved online play, and even PS Eye support to automatically capture your ‘Buzz face’ while playing. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Eight player support may in itself be enough to get a lot of Quiz TV players to upgrade, allowing for more friends to
join in the trivia mayhem. That’s eight players per system, by the way, not just online, which I will get into a bit later. Quiz World also includes hundreds of names, both normal (like Sarah, John) and goofy (Snake, Beast) that Buzz (the host) can say. This adds a layer of immersion that just wasn’t available in previous Buzz! games. I also like how Buzz can remember profile statistics for each saved profile. So as an example, if the character that you have saved to your profile has answered his 100th question correctly, over the course of his ‘career,’ Buzz will likely point out the fact — no matter what game you are currently in. You can’t view these stats anywhere in the menu options, so hearing them spoken out is pretty neat. Similarly, Buzz will sometimes point out if your character was the winner in a previous game or the loser. These little touches to the presentation are very noticeable and improve the overall experience.
Adding to the presentation is the ability for players to choose from a variety of characters and buzzer sounds. These can be adjusted in between games or any time that you load your profile. No two players can have the same buzzer sound, but with a bunch to choose from, that won’t be a problem. Buzzer sounds include all matter of buzzes, tones, clangs, even a cow mooing. Character models include a wrestler, a knight, a cheerleader, a nurse, a clown, and several others. Each character can wear one of three different available costumes, too. The characters themselves look good, and each animates pretty well throughout the course of a game. The animated reactions and mannerisms get old before long however, so you might find yourself changing characters every now and then. I’m sure we’ll see more characters available through DLC (downloadable content) in due time as well.
Speaking of DLC, any additional quiz packs you might have gotten off of the PSN Store with Quiz TV are available for use in Quiz World. Player-created quizzes help extend the life of the game and add the potential for an endless
supply of new quizzes. Creation tools are available on mybuzzquiz.com. Concerned parents can prevent Mature rated quizzes from being available on their console, too.
Other online enabled features include Leaderboards and, of course, “Sofa Vs Sofa” multiplayer. With online modes, up to four players can participate on one PS3, with up to eight players total participating in a game. Matches can be setup between known Friends or just random Buzz fans. With downloadable user created quizzes, you can jump into several different modes of play. Quick Start has Buzz choosing the subject and rounds, while Best Quizzes lets you choose from a list of MyBuzz! quizzes. Fresh quizzes lets you try out some brand new available quizzes and Subject Select lets you search for a quiz by keyword.
Pictures snapped from the PS Eye can also be uploaded to your MyBuzz! profile page. When connected, the PS Eye will snap photos at the start, middle, and end of a game, with a countdown timer giving you a moment to pose. Additionally, other pictures will be taken during play that aren’t announced — which can make for some great laughs when viewed later from the game menu.
Quiz World also includes functionality in PS Home, which was also a part of Quiz TV. Within PS Home, you can jump into 64 player games. You don’t need a Buzzer either; to answer a question, you just run over to a colored panel on the floor. The core gameplay is still intact, but how you play is much different. It’s a neat idea, and I’m glad to see it continued with Quiz World.
When you aren’t playing online, you have, of course, a couple of other options available to you: play by your lonesome, or grab a friend (or seven). Clearly, this game isn’t intended to be a single player experience, so there isn’t much to do if you’re just playing by yourself. Just a couple of round types are included in single player, with the only really fun one being Over the Edge. Over the Edge is one of the new rounds in Quiz World that is quickly becoming my favorite. In it, players stand at their podium as per usual, but each incorrectly answered question raise the podium up off the floor. If you get five questions wrong, the podium tips you up and over and into a big pool of green goo.
Modes, Rounds, Subjects
In my experience, most of my time playing the Buzz! games comes from having friends over to see who’s the trivia king of the hour. It’s these 2-8 player style of gaming sessions that Buzz! was really created for. Several Game Modes and Round Types are at your fingertips, and I figure the best way to tell you about these is in a simple list, so here we go:
-Standard – Player chooses the subject, Buzz mixes up the rounds.
-Round Select – Players get to choose which round is next.
-Crazy Rounds – All of the rounds are played back to back.
-Serious Rounds – Straight trivia, no gimmicks.
-15 Minute Game – A short sampling of different rounds.
-45 Minute Game – The longest mode available.
-Quiz Pack – Only Quiz Packs downloaded from the PSN Store will be used.
-Custom – Pick the rounds that you want to play.
-Single Player Challenges – Not a lot to see here, but described earlier in the article.
The round types below also correspond to a different color lighting scheme for the gameshow set. Over the Edge makes the whole stage look green, Boiling Point paints the stage red, and so forth.
-Over the Edge – Answering questions correctly makes your rival move closer to falling into a pool of goo. If you answer a question wrong, you will move closer to falling in.
-On the Spot – Each player gets to answer questions by themselves, with the point value of each question determined by their opponents.
-Boiling Point – Quickly answer questions to earn points that will raise the level of your thermometer. The idea is to get your thermometer reading the highest value quicker than the other players; six correct answers will win.
-Fastest Finger – Points are awarded on how quickly you respond.
-Short Fuse – A time bomb (think Looney Tunes) is passed between contestants; answering a question successfully means you can pass the bomb on to the next player. If you answer a question wrong, you have to hold on to the bomb until you answer correctly, and all the while the fuse is burning shorter. Whoever gets stuck with the bomb when it goes off loses a lot of points, around 300 actually.
-Pie Fight – If you answer a question correctly, you can select what contestant (including yourself) you want Buzz to throw a pie at. A contestant can only have two pies thrown at them before they are eliminated.
-Final Countdown – Points from previous rounds are turned into time. This is kind of a reverse Over the Edge round in that players start with their platforms raised up off of the floor and the idea is to get your platform lowered back down to floor height by answering questions correctly.
-Prizes – Buzz awards humorous prizes like x-ray glasses after a game that make for an amusing and brief game-ending cutscene.
To this point, I’ve actually yet to mention the subjects of the 5000+ questions, so let me amend that now:
Music, The World, People, Movies, Arts & Literature, Science & Nature, Leisure, Sports, TV, and Events, with many
sub-categories beneath these. Subcategories include Video Games, 90s TV, motorsports, the sun, and dozens and dozens of other topics. With the ability to create and share your own quizzes, you’re not limited to just these subjects. In several hours of play with friends, I’ve yet to notice repeat questions and subcategories have been varied nicely. Questions vary from the incredibly simple no brainers to very difficult, but for the most part a nice balance is maintained. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on your general knowledge.
Relatively speaking, not a whole lot can go wrong with a game like Buzz! Quiz World due to its very design and gameplay. It’s really one of those games where it’s as deep or as fun as you make it to be. In other words, there is no story or boss fights or combos to unlock, or an ending, it’s all about a group of people getting together and having a good time answering trivia questions. If you’re in the market for something like that, I don’t think you can do any better than Sony’s Buzz! series, and with improvements across the board from the well received Quiz TV, it’s clear that Quiz World is a great choice.