Whenever I have friends over for a party, invariably we end up playing some type of trivia game, usually while imbibing our drink of choice. In fact, it's become a tradition at parties to break out a console and get our trivia game face on. I love trivia questions, as do my friends. Usually, we've gravitated to the Scene It? series on the Xbox 360, but that changed when I received Buzz! Quiz TV.
On the surface, Quiz TV is basically your typical game show brought to virtual life. There's nothing super exciting about it. You just answer questions. Sometimes questions are asked after looking at various pictures; sometimes it's a movie clip; sometimes it's an audio clip. But it's always the same thing: a question is asked and you want to be the quickest to answer. The categories are very wide-ranging, from the biggest blockbusters to different periods of music (90s, 80s, modern, oldies, etc.) to scientific questions to geographical questions...Buzz! Quiz TV has it all. And with 5,000 questions out of the box and more available online, there's a ton of replayability inherent in the game.
What makes Quiz TV unique and more entertaining than other similar games (Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action, I'm looking at you) is the wink and nudge, smarmy humor encapsulated in the host. Buzz, the host, has that voice that can only be described as smarmy and says provocative things. But it's all done with a wink and a laugh, a send up and parody of some of the really bad game shows hosts out there. Additionally, while you can't create your own character, the selection of available avatars is terrific and, again, full of character. Whether you're playing as a mime who strikes poses, the cheesy and egotistical super hero, or the 80s-style mall rocker, there's a lot of humor to be had. Very expressive and, more interestingly, the host will respond based on the character you've selected. So, playing as the super hero you will hear different remarks than if you were playing the has been 80s mall chick.
Additional features add to the value. For instance, if you have enough controllers, you can play with up to 8 people. Or if you can't even find another person to play with, you can take the questions online. Also, as seems to be the thing to do these days, there's a community section where you can craft your own trivia questions and spread them to the world or play other people's trivia questions.
It would have been nice if you could play online and in the same room at the same time; that is, take your "team" of local players and compete against others online. But, unfortunately, the online portion seems to be just one player. This is a downside for me because games like these are more of a social activity and playing online, while still technically social, isn't as fun as having a group of people with you.
Other small issues abound, though. One thing to note is that the game doesn't come with batteries, so you'll need eight AA batteries to play it. But the biggest problem for me is the lack of variety. Sure there's variety in the groups of questions and the types of questions being asked, but the game types are set in stone. For instance, you'll always begin a game with "the point builder" where you simply want to get an answer before the time runs out. The second round will, again, always be the same and has you playing hot potato with a bomb where quick and correct guesses will get the bomb out of your hands. The third round will always be the same, etc. all the way to the end. It's not that the game types included aren't fun because they are (and have brought out tons of laughter amongst my gaming group), it's that there's not enough variety or randomness.
One of the features I've enjoyed with Scene It? is that the game types are completely random and so it doesn't feel like you're playing the exact same game over and over. I wish there were more game types and it was random, but I understand that the way it's created mimics typical game shows.
Overall, though, Buzz! moves into the Playstation 3 world with a great solid entry. I love the character of the game, whether it's the host or the individual contestants. The questions verge on being a little too easy, but there's so many categories and fun questions that cover a wide section of our world that it's forgivable. By far the best part is the post-release support. Already there's at least one question pack, a Horror Movie Question Pack just in time for Halloween that included an additional 500 questions. That kind of support will help give Buzz! Quiz TV longevity. I just wish that there was more variety in the game types and rounds.