PSP Review: Buzz! Brain Bender

Buzz meets Brain Training? Not exactly…

Buzz swaps his trademark suits and the bright lights of the studio for a lab coat and clipboard in Buzz!: Brain Bender – a light, entertaining and humorous way to give your brain a workout. Colourful, entertaining brain games, designed to be instantly understandable, fast-paced and accessible for all ages let you test your cognitive mojo or take on specific challenges. Once you’ve greased the wheels, Buzz!: Brain Bender lets you take on all comers with the entertaining Pass Around Brain Battle mode for up to six players, where one PSP is passed between players.
Brain Training has sold a large number of copies over the years and still continues to do so. Since then, there have been imitators that haven’t quite met the standards to surpass the DS hit. Sony have taken a risk by putting their quiz icon Buzz into a game that tests your brain in other ways besides answering questions about TV and music. It’s a gamble that doesn’t quite pay off, which is a shame since it shows potential to begin with but the flaws are exposed soon after.

The game is built up into 4 different types of tests for your brain like selecting pairs of cards, choosing a right answer in a maths question, choosing the right picture to fill in the missing piece and so on. There are varieties of these tests, but they aren’t entirely different from each other and it becomes clear that you’re playing the same test, but with a different option. For example, you might be tested to match pairs of cards, while next time you might be tested to match pictures of animals.
Each test is under a timer and the better you do, the better your result. Like the last PSP Buzz game, there are some trophies to unlock…but since you can’t link your PSN account to it, it seems a worthless addition. It’s a shame really as that kind of option might have enticed me to try better to get them all; instead it seems like a pointless exercise, which is what the end result of Brain Bender is. Buzz is just as annoying as ever with cheesy one-liners that repeat far too often, I personally can’t see what his appeal is.

To add insult to injury, there is no online or local multiplayer other than you swapping around ONE PSP to 6 players. WTF? Why can’t you play with two or more PSP’s? It makes no sense at all, it almost seems like they removed the option to rush the game, and it definitely is starting to feel that way.

The Verdict

Buzz! Brain Bender is a poor attempt at trying to bring the Brain Training experience to the PSP. It fails on so many levels and becomes increasingly boring once you have played each test. The lack of online/offline multiplayer is just insulting to PSP owners who have been hoping for an experience like Big Brain Academy on their handheld. Buzz should stick to corny quiz games instead…