I’ve long been looking for a game that evokes the same vibe as the PS2/3 Buzz games. They had a fun, irreverent cheeky humour but crucially a variety of rounds that meant you could have very different gameshows across multiple playthroughs. The gameshow format didn’t get so in the way of the trivia and quiz questions, but instead it enhanced it. I’m annoyed the series seems on hold from Sony but in Brain Show I’ve found the closest trivia game to a Buzz game in years.
Brain Show is a 2-8 player trivia game show hosted by a cheesy and slightly cringeworthy host who thankfully does his silly shtick quickly by explaining the rules of the round and then making a funny face and getting on with it. It is a wise decision because it gives Brain Show personality but keeps the game moving. There are 12 rounds to be chosen from for rounds 1-5 in a normal gameshow. These start off obvious like a simple right answer scores round and a fastest finger scores most round but where Brain Show excels is in its party rounds. Vacuum placed a hoover above a player, sucking points away from you until you answer correctly. There’s a balloon round that lets you fire an arrow at an opponent if you get a right answer to shoot one of their balloons like a life. Indeed, nominating a player to get a forfeit is often the point of these party rounds be it to steal points, whack boxes from or pass dynamite too. It up’s the competitive ante and if you get something wrong, the host takes part and attacks you instead. A cool anomaly is 50/50, taking the finale from Trivial Pursuit and asking each player to get a streak of correct answers from two choices.
Across the first five rounds you’ll gain points and then these are converted to a life percentage for The Grand Finale. Here everyone stands on a plank above water and the first one to get the question right gets to choose who they shoot to reduce their life to 0. Get it wrong and the host shoots you. Guns power up over time to stop the game running on too long and last one standing wins. It is lovely to see a quiz game show where the rounds leading up to the finale actually really matter. Yes, you can still do a last to first in the finale but you’ll have to be very strong on your knowledge and speed to survive.
Brain Show really works as a great local multiplayer experience. Visually, it isn’t quite hitting any high notes but nothing is offensive. It is just a little bland. Instead, every question is voiced and each character has to choose from a named profile. I really appreciated that its a real voice, not an AI robot, it adds so much more to the experience. What did surprise me was that despite having individual profiles built, there doesn’t seem to be any (public) stat collection. The host mentions if its a first game for someone or not, but then it seems very vague. It also asks you your gender and proceeds to ignore it across the game too. It’d be great to have stats available and a mode to build your own gameshow too. As each round is picked randomly, sometimes you can get a run of rounds that give very low scores and so when you reach the finale, everyone is level pegged. It’s just about giving more options to the player as aside from the main game mode, you can play the finale separately with everyone starting with full health, but that’s about it. Remote Steam Play is included but as the game is often about being first to answer, you’ll need a great connection to get a fair game from it.
Whilst rough around the edges, Brain Show’s developers understands exactly what made Buzz work so well and they’ve harnessed the raw essence of what made Buzz so compelling and fun to play. It’s the closest I’ve got to playing a Buzz styled quiz show and it doesn’t suffer from as much cutscene bloating as Knowledge Is Power. With over 5,000 questions across 41 topics, it’ll give plenty of hours of fun and I really hope this is the start of a very exciting series, with either question or round packs to follow.
Harnesses the raw essence of what made Buzz great. A very solid foundation for the trivia show genre to build upon.
A variety of rounds that means each show will feel slightly different.
5,000 questions with repeats not popping up for hours.
8 players (and you can split your keyboard to get several playing on it if you need to).
Have that zany Buzz vibe that isn't easy to replicate.
Visually quite bland.
The timer starts slightly after the question and answers are shown so you can sometimes press the answer too quickly and it doesn't register.
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