Available On: PS3, PSP
Household names exist for a reason: they’re consistent, they’re well-known, and they’re usually of high quality. Most importantly, household names are generally trusted by consumers because of the qualities they possess and the consistency they maintain in all of their products. Buzz! has effectively become a household name when it comes to the console-based world of quiz games. Buzz! is the quiz series that’s owned by Sony and developed by Relentless Studios; it has its flaws but more than anything it has its popularity and the trust of its fans. Buzz! The Ultimate Music Quiz continues the series with music-related questions in multiple formats, a new look, and now with Playstation Move support.
For a game series that has been around since 2005, Buzz! is doing pretty well for itself, still going strong all these years later. Buzz! The Ultimate Music Quiz is effectively just an updated iteration of the series that is tailored towards fans of music (which means its appeal is just short of universal) and whose format is as unchanging as the Buzz! title that it adopts. The way it works is as simple as you would expect: the quizzes (regardless of the mode you’re playing in) consist of you sitting in front of the screen answering questions about the subject matter, which is in this case music. You’ll use the purpose-made buzzer peripheral as well, just to top up on the authenticity of the whole thing.
The simplicity of the format is paramount to how enjoyable it is: any more complex and it would put off the casual gamers out there. To answer questions you use one of the four coloured buttons that are positioned on the controller. The premise is also simple: you are playing as a contestant on a virtual quiz. All of this is familiar, but things will look a little better for returning players: the studio you’re in has been given a makeover, as has Buzz!, the quiz’s host.
More familiarity is in store for those experience in the Buzz! quiz series format: you’ve got returning quiz rounds like The Final Countdown, Fastest Finger, and Point Stealer. Each of the formats puts a pleasant spin on the fairly rudimentary act of being asked questions and answering them.
A most welcome addition to the game that makes its debut here is Twisted Tunes, a round that involves listening to a distorted track and trying to identify it. This is obviously an apt quiz round considering the game’s musical focus. Slightly less exciting is the observation round that has you answering questions based on clips of music videos, which may sound fun but isn’t as relevant as it could be: the questions are really just about whether you paid attention to the clip and not really about any kind of prior musical knowledge .
Any further additions to the game will likely be viewed as superfluous by most players. You’ve got support for the Playstation Move motion controller, but its application in the game is quite basic and really feels rather forced. It involves playing side-games that aren’t really part of the main quiz modes, and these involve doing things like motioning to hit correct answers on screen, placing them in certain places, or popping the on-screen bubble with the answer in.
The least that the developers could have been done here is to incorporate the Move into a round that at least tries to be musically relevant such as conducting music or perhaps flinging the controller along with a beat, but this is one area where the developers have failed. Another is the placement of your face (via taking a snapshot with the Playstation Eye) atop the bodies of the contestants and also Mr. Buzz himself. These two failed features really add nothing unique to the experience and feel like a mere afterthought from Buzz developers Relentless Software rather than an attempt to genuinely include features that are innovative around the subject of music.
But the appeal of the Buzz! series has never really been its innovation because there really isn’t anything drastic or revolutionary about it, this game included. Instead – and this applies to this game as well – the Buzz! series has always had a consistent core in the form of its main quiz formats, allowing for short or long rounds of quiz-based fun that Scene It? doesn’t quite live up to. This is a game that maintains the series’ consistency whilst adding in just enough to satisfy both newcomers and repeat players.