In November, Sony released Buzz! Quiz World for the PS3, the newest entry into their popular trivia game series. Now, Buzz is back -- this time on the PSP. We reviewed and are still enjoying the PS3 version, but how does the PSP version stack up? Quite well, in fact. Let's take a closer look, shall we?
Come On Down
I'll start off by saying my favorite part about Quiz World on the PSP is the fact that it's on the PSP. While the PS3 version is ideal for group trivia sessions and has a nicer presentation, the PSP is perfect for a quick fix or taking your trivia skills on the go. Indeed, the PSP version does also three forms of multiplayer -- online, Ad Hoc (with game sharing support where only one copy of the game is required to play), and pass-and-play local support. Whether starting up my own game or searching for available online games, I haven't had any luck finding anyone to play online yet. I will point out that players can create and search for games that are Long or Short, that use the Main quiz pack or a custom one, and 2-4 players are supported. The pass-and-play mode, which supports up six players, is nice, but not terribly fun. My point being, while several multiplayer modes are included with Quiz World, I think most folks are going to get most of their quizzing in with the single player modes.
But even before single or multiplayer trivia takes place, you'll setup a profile and choose your avatar and player name. Players can choose from dozens of built in avatars and names, similar to the PS3 version. Unlike the PS3 version, Buzz will not call out your character's name, which I don't think is a big deal for most.
With your profile created, you're ready to take advantage of what Quiz World has to offer. In addition to those multiplayer modes, there are several single player modes to choose from. Over the past few days, I've narrowed my focus to the MyBuzz! mode that allows you to play user created quizzes. You can sort between several categories like Lifestyle, Brainiac, Music, and Sports, or just choose between a handful of quizzes that appear in your menu. After completing a quiz, you can rate it between one and four stars, and you also have the option to report it if the quiz material is inappropriate. I like the fact that each quiz is formatted similarly: eight multiple choice questions. Most quizzes can be completed within a couple of minutes and the variety of topics they cover is huge. To give you an idea, I've played quizzes about Marvel super heroes, elementary math, basketball, car repair, geography, and even about old school Nintendo games.
Another element about MyBuzz! that works so well is that load times are very brief. It consistently took me well under twenty seconds to go from selecting a quiz to playing it. On a portable platform, load time is crucial, so it's great that Quiz World keeps things moving right along. With the brevity of the quizzes and the variety available, you can readily sink several hours into this aspect of the game alone. In between each quiz, your profile's all time statistic are updated and displayed. These stats show you how many quizzes you've played as well as your correct answer percentage. About the only catch with MyBuzz! is that you're playing user created content, which means you'll run into a lot of sub-par quizzes. Players do have the option to create custom quiz playlists, however. Additionally, you have to be online to take advantage of MyBuzz!, although there is a menu option for playing downloaded quiz packs. That said, I didn't actually see how to get quiz packs so I'm either missing something or they simply aren't
available just yet.
More On Gameplay
As fun and addictive as MyBuzz! is, the other modes shouldn't be overlooked. The primary single player draw in the offline arena is the Challenge mode. The idea of Challenge is that the player chooses from one of four built in 'tournaments.' I use the term tournament loosely because in reality, you just have to play through about a dozen rounds of quizzing to get to a 'showdown' match with a built in game character. This actually isn't as exciting as it sounds as you really don't see or interact with the CPU character -- you're simply informed that you've reached the showdown round with them. The better you do on the rounds leading up to this finale, the more time you will have
to correctly answer each question during the showdown.
How well you do in Quiz World is tallied per quiz by medals. While answering questions -- no matter the round type, more on those soon -- your points total and progress is shown at the bottom of the screen. A meter shows you how close you are to achieving bronze, silver, and gold medals, too. Of course, Buzz, the often annoying announcer (hey, it's true), will also keep you informed with your status.
Quiz World actually tracks more than just your performance during a round. There's a fairly large list of trophies that avid Buzzers will want to claim. Trophies are awarded for a variety of tasks including things like completing each of the four Challenges, for trying MyBuzz!, netting ten thousand points in an "end less" MyBuzz! round, and even for answering a question in less than a second. Unlocking a trophy is obviously pretty cool, especially when it's unexpected. Upon unlocking each trophy, Buzz appears on screen to tell you exactly what you earned, and I thought that was a nice touch.
Speaking of Buzz, I think the character is original and interesting enough, but I have to admit I quickly grew tired of his dialogue. You'll notice after just a couple of hours that he really doesn't have all that many lines of dialogue (keep in mind a different voice asks the questions). Buzz is most annoying whenever he slows down the progress of the game. During every quiz from MyBuzz!, around the fifth question, Buzz would say one of several different lines that would actually halt the flow of the game. I know this is only a few seconds of delay, but when you're playing ten, twenty, or thirty quizzes (not unusual), it really adds up. Buzz also talks an awful lot in the menus. Within seconds of not making a menu choice, Buzz will already be on to you about picking something, and if he's not talking about that, he's saying something else. Maybe I've just played too much Buzz! lately, but his voice and limited amount of dialogue start to grate after a while.
Round types in the PSP version are similar, but not exactly the same, as those in the PS3 version. On the PSP, players will encounter rounds such as Points Builder, Quick Fire, Mystery, Snapshot, High Stakes, and Time Challenge. Points Builder is all about scoring the most points possible, which is done by correctly answering the question. If you answer wrong, you lose points. The idea of Quick Fire is to answer questions as quickly as possible, while Mystery mode randomly gives you one of the other mode types. Snapshot is fun in that each correctly answered question lets you unlock a single block of an image that is covered in a grid. Each time you remove a portion the grid, you get another piece of the hidden image. Immediately after removing a piece, you have the option to Pass or Play. If you Pass, you're electing to not guess what the image is, while Playing means you do want to take a guess at what the image is (from a list of four choices). If you get the answer correct, you net a lot of Bonus Points. Even better, if the round isn't over by the time you answer, you can try your luck at another hidden image. As for High Stakes, this mode has you placing a bet between 0 and 500 points on the upcoming question. You're given only the general category of the question, and nothing more; cool stuff, this and Snapshot are my favorite types. Finally, Time Challenge is simply a race against the clock to see how many answers you can get correct before the timer runs out.
As far as presentation, my only complaint is that Buzz talks too much and repeats himself far too often. Outside of that, the rest of the audio presentation is fine, the graphics are good, and the load times are great. So while you won't find the flashy presentation of the PS3 version, you certainly will find a very competent, functional, and good presentation here.
Let's get to the summary...