Buzz Junior: RoboJam
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Buzz! Junior: RoboJam is the second edition of the Buzz franchise aimed at kids. Instead of the monkeys from Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party, players this time appear as robots that inhabit a futuristic, space age world heavy with rivets, gears and jet packs.
View full gallery Click to enlarge Your yellow, blue, green or orange robot can be named and kitted out with the head and body shape of your choice. Once play begins, you have your pick of 25 different mini games. Most suitable for those between the age of six to 10, the games do not require knowledge of trivia, but rather quick reflexes, as most involve some type of bashing, smashing or racing (using the coloured buttons on the Buzz controllers, of course). The game names are indicative: Barrel Bashing, Mad Mallets, Pillow Fight, Saucer Shoot-out, Astro Blaster, Piston Peril and Go Nuts are some of the best examples.
You can choose to play a Short (five different games), Medium (10 games) Long (15 games) or Marathon (all) session. You'll find that some mini games are more fun than others and unfortunately, you can't exit ones you don't like. The good news is, once you've discovered what your favourite games are, you can save them in a customised playlist, so you can easily return and play just the games you like.
One of the biggest differences in Buzz! Junior: RoboJam is that it works much better for fewer than four players than the previous edition. The game is easily playable with one to three players, as the "spare" robot(s) still participate, controlled through artificial intelligence in the game itself. This does extend the playability of this version of Buzz Junior, as you don't need a crowd to play it -- even a sick child home from school could play against three robot friends. The only downside we can report (from first hand experience), is that it's slightly demoralising to get beaten consistently by one of the AI players.
Unlike adult versions of Buzz, where good players can rack up points totals hundreds higher than their adversaries, the points awarded after each mini game in Buzz Junior range only from one to four, s.id so the competition usually does not become too unbalanced.
But enough of an adult's perspective; watch our video to see what kids think of Buzz! Junior: RoboJam. Our guest reviewers -- Grace Craig, eight, Iwan Freed, nine, John Chapman, 10 and Lachlan Fuller, 10 -- played the game on a wet and cold winter afternoon. Two of them had a PS2 at their house, two did not, but after a couple of hours engrossed at the Buzz controllers, all were RoboJam fans.
We tried to more or less follow our Good, Bad, Bottom Line format when we asked the kids what they thought of the game. This fell down, though, when the kids really couldn't come up with much that they didn't like about RoboJam. We can't bring ourselves to rate it a perfect 10, but based on the collective thumbs up from our age-appropriate experts, we're giving it an Editors' Choice 9.5.