BuzzTime Trivia Review

BuzzTime Trivia needs to become a more compelling game to be worth playing on the mobile platform.

BuzzTime is an established name in niche trivia gaming, currently offering its trivia both on cable providers and NTN networks available in restaurants and bars. Although the mobile version of this game is a little more simplified than its counterparts, the trivia experience is virtually identical. What doesn't translate to mobile, however, is the novelty, which BuzzTime relies on heavily. That BuzzTime Trivia even exists in a bar might be enough to make it successful in that medium, but it needs to become a more compelling game, in and of itself, to be worth playing on the mobile platform.

You've played it in the bar; now play it on your phone.
You've played it in the bar; now play it on your phone.

There are two modes: BuzzTime trivia and BuzzTime light. Contrary to intuition, the light version is the more challenging of the two, and therefore much more interesting. In both, you select between three different trivia categories: everything, sports, and entertainment. After selecting a category, you're logged into a server to compete against other players for a series of 15 questions. Because you're answering questions individually against other opponents in real time, you must often wait for a new game to start before being able to jump right in. Each question is given and then a multiple-choice selection of five answers is proposed. The more quickly you answer, the more points you will rack up. In BuzzTime trivia, players are given a series of three clues along the way, which always follow the same pattern. The first two tell you what the answer is not, by making a pun that references one of the given incorrect answers. The last one clues you into the answer to the question, so, at least in trivia mode, there's no reason for anyone ever to get a question wrong. Should you make a mistake, you can change your answer as the time limit winds down, but changes incur a bigger penalty to the points than the mere time decrease does. If you end up selecting the wrong answer and don't change it, 250 points are taken from your total score. After the time limit is up, the spread of answers chosen is depicted, a fun fact about the question is given, and then the points are tallied on a running scoreboard. In light mode, there are no clues and the answer you select is final. As a result, the scores tend to be a lot lower, but the competition is more interesting.

The biggest problem with BuzzTime Trivia is that there are no consequences for success or failure. Players can log in and out of games freely, without any punishment, except that they'll remain deadweight at the bottom of the scoreboard until the very end of the game. You must rely on the integrity of other players to finish the game in order to feel any real competition whatsoever. However, the desire to jump in and out of gameplay is understandable, as you must wait the entire duration allotted to each question in order to proceed to the next one. Players should have been able to go through the questions at their own pace, especially considering that you must remain connected to the network for the entire game. It would also have been interesting to have a worldwide scoreboard to provide a more long-term consequence for playing the game. BuzzTime Trivia does not currently censor player names, so given that you're playing against a wide array of people, you can expect to see inappropriate nicknames from time to time.

The graphics are adequate, given that the game is largely text-based. It has a nice aura of design to it, both in its icons and in the neatness of the font and layout, but this only helps to make the game functional and doesn't enhance it in any particular way. There is no sound--music or sound effects--in the game. While sound isn't needed in this type of game, it would have been better to have the option, especially to prompt players when the loading is done and the next question is up.

While BuzzTime Trivia offers a solid trivia experience, the experience isn't diverse or deep enough to make it worthwhile over the long run. The questions, particularly in the entertainment and sports categories, are mostly outdated, which makes it less interesting than if the questions were relevant to today. With other available trivia games that offer a very solid trivia experience, such as Trivial Pursuit, it's difficult to think of a reason to pick up BuzzTime Trivia.

The Good

  • Has diverse trivia

The Bad

  • Is very bland
  • No overall scoreboard
  • Needs sound

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