It has been five years since Brighton-based Relentless Software released the first Buzz game, Buzz: The Music Quiz, back on the PlayStation 2. Eleven Buzz games and five Junior versions later, the series is still going strong. So, to celebrate its fifth anniversary, Buzz is going back to its musical roots with Buzz: The Ultimate Music Quiz. In addition to a host of new questions to wrap your brain around, there are new Move compatible minigames and a suite of hilarious customization options that let you put your face in the game.
The premise of Buzz is the same as always: answer questions, score points, and try to best your opponents. It's presented in a gameshow-style format, complete with a cheesy host, who's voiced by Jason Donavon. The biggest change comes from a set of customization options, which allow you to change character costumes, change buzzer sounds, and even use your own face on characters using the PlayStation Eye. While these may seem like trivial additions, thanks to the social nature of the game, they have the potential to make an already enjoyable experience even more fun.
When you start up a new quiz, you're given the option of customizing your character before it starts. You can adjust pretty much everything, from the name of the contestant to the buzzer sound and costumes. There are a number of costumes available, which are cartoonlike takes on common themes, including cowboy outfits, monsters, and astronauts. Each of them has multiple variations, such as the robot, which you can kit out in full-on metal garb or in a slightly less glamorous cardboard-box outfit. You can also customize colors and choose different moves for your character's victory and defeat animations.
From there, you can use the Paperface feature, which allows you to map your own visage onto your character. Using the PlayStation Eye, you take a photo of yourself, and afterward, you're asked to crop it to fit a template. The game then pastes the 2D image onto your character, which you can customize with various hats, hair, and other accessories. The resulting effect is hilarious, with the animation resembling that of South Park, complete with cutaway flapping heads. You can also swap out the face of the host for your own or turn him off altogether, should his quiz show banter be a little too much for your tastes. One other feature you can customize is the game buzzer, so each member of the team can have his or her own custom sound. You can record any sound you like using the PlayStation Eye's microphone, which will no doubt be of questionable taste if your friends are anything like ours. Because you can literally use anything for the buzzers and faces, these features can't be used online, thus saving the minds of any impressionable youngsters out there.
Aside from customization, the latest Buzz introduces Move support. This takes the form of a variety of minigames, which are separate from the main quiz. While the term "minigame" might cause alarm bells to start ringing in your head, you won't have to worry about aren't any wacky waggle-infested sports knockoffs. Instead, the Move controller is used to answer questions in a small quiz, albeit in a very different way from using the buzzer. It works a little like an augmented-reality app, with video from the PlayStation Eye blown up full screen. Answers to questions are overlaid on top of that, taking the form of blocks, pieces of metal, balloons, and UFOs. You use the Move controller to select the correct answer, which transforms into a hammer to break the blocks, a magnet to pick up metal, a dart to pop the balloons, and a ray gun to shoot the UFOs. In our hands-on, we found the motion controls worked well, with accurate tracking. We found the UFO game to be the most fun, turning the quiz into a shooting gallery, complete with cute exploding space ships.
If you're not yet Move equipped, though, you can still get sucked into plenty of traditional quiz action. All the usual quick-fire video and listening rounds are there--including our favorite tune warp--which messed with the speed and pitch of a song that we were asked to identify. Online options are also present, so you can test your mental skills against other players across the PlayStation Network and download user-generated question packs. Speaking of question packs, if you've exhausted the in-built questions, you'll be able to buy officially sanctioned ones direct from the PlayStation store.
Though Buzz: The Ultimate Music Quiz hasn't strayed too far from its winning gameshow format, the additional customization options and Move support made our time with the game fun. In particular, the Paperface feature was very funny and made the quiz all the more competitive as we attempted to sink our opponents in the gunge round. Buzz: The Ultimate Music Quiz is due out on the PlayStation 3 this October. Look out for more coverage on GameSpot soon.