Buzz! has its own junior series that originally on PS2, were then transfered into smaller games on the PSN for £3.49. Buzz! Ace Racers is one that (as of today) has not been converted. Is this because its just a one trick pony no one’s interested in or is it a hidden gem in the mini-game world? Let’s have a poke about under the bonnet…
There is one? Four drivers, four coloured buttons on the Buzz! Buzzers (not that you use them). This is all about finding uses for the peripheral outside of a quiz game.
This game really uses just one button – and that’s the big red buzzer button. There are 25 tracks plus 5 bonus games. Each track is relatively small and follows a car/plane/boat cycle. Your steering is completely automatic a bit like a race on rails, however the buzzer button controls when your accelerate. Press it, you go full pelt. Stop and you slow down. The whole game revolves around managing your speed so you can race as fast as possible. If you take a corner too fast you spin and lose time. That essentially is it! It’s so shockingly simplistic yet it has a feel all of its own and if you’ve four people knowing exactly what they’re doing, the races can really be quite close and fun. It still feels a bit… too easy though.
The graphics in race are from a 2.8D view. You can see 3D objects, but you can usually be almost top down watching the race. Every track is beautifully presented and when you win, you get to see all the detail as the camera swoops down to follow the winner on their victory laps. The plane levels are least impressive as its almost like a PS1 side shooter but apart from that, everything is really quite lavish.
Music here is great. Each type of environment as its own theme and while its all very playful, it does get you really into the racing spirit. The voice overs, as in all Buzz games, are top notch too and really add to the atmosphere.
The RePlay Factor
This is all down to how many players you have. The AI can actually really give it some whelly on hard and will provide plenty of challenge but these games are always better with friends. 4 player racing is always a bonus and everything runs smoothly. There’s a nice collection of tracks, most with their own specific danger that you need to avoid. The mini games are similar to ones lifted from all the other Buzz! Junior games too.
~4 player mayhem
~So easy to pick up, a little tougher to master completely
~Many will wonder where the actual challenge is in just pressing one button
~Is in essence a one-trick pony
It’s very strange just how much enjoyment can be had just pressing one button. While a chunk of gamers will not appreciate its pure simplicity in design, its a great drop in, pick up, play and put down game, especially for the little ones, and makes for a change of pace between all those quizzes you’ve been doing!