At face value, this latest Buzz! release seems to be a harmless, cheap and fun multiplayer game to make use of your Buzz! controllers. At just £3.99, it is most definitely cheap and with a name like Buzz! Junior: RoboJam, it certainly seems innocuous enough, but Buzz! Junior: RoboJam seems to be full of contradictions: it’s aimed squarely at young children, yet it doesn’t really teach them anything. Simply hitting the correct coloured button at the right time for 10 minutes is simply a glorified test of reaction speed and I would personally want my children to be a little more challenged than that.
While the game is cheap, it is the shortest I have ever played. There are 5 mini-games in which you play as a robot – the look of which is customisable. The challenges all have the same basic underlying principle and none are exactly edge of the seat stuff. The different mini-games are Mad Mallets (hit the colour of the square an animal appears on); Pillow Fight (hit the colour of the robot that appears in front of you); Odd Bot Out (4 people in a row wearing the same clothes, hit the colour of the odd one out); Piston Peril (effectively just pass the bomb without questions and a giant piston above each robot instead of a bomb) and Nitro Racing (repeatedly hit the red Buzz! button to run quickly and avoid a strange orange beam).
I know that it is for children, but it is just too easy. There is very little replay value either as you will be a master of each principle after the very first attempt. Almost certainly by the second play through, it will become a bit of a chore. To add insult to injury, the 5 mini-games have already been released on (rather confusingly) Buzz! Junior: RoboJam for the PlayStation 2. Only, that version of the game also had a further 20 different challenges and can be picked up for the princely sum of £8 second hand (PlayTrade). Why wasn’t that version of the game re-released on the PS Store?
However, it is not all bad news. It can be played using an existing DualShock 3 controller if you don’t own any Buzz! buzzers and even though most children would not be able to afford a PS3, a father or older family member who owns such a magnificent machine could quickly download this for children to play. There are also 11 Trophies: 5 bronze, 5 silver and 1 gold, all of which are extremely easy to get – I managed 4 Bronze and 1 gold in just over 10 minutes, but I feel that fact that I have to use trophies as a positive for this game I think speaks volumes.
If you have 4 people playing, then, as with all Buzz! Games, it is considerably more entertaining than playing alone (but you really do need 4 people, any less and it is not really worth the effort). Actually, as a (very) short cool down from a serious game of “real” Buzz!, RoboJam can sometimes provide a laugh or two. It’s just that the novelty wears off all too soon.