|Available In: App Store||Price: $2.99|
Two of my favorite party games have always been Taboo and Catch Phrase. With the electronic version of Catch Phrase, it was easy to take a portable version of this easy to learn game. Car games were no longer needed as hours of time were suddenly filled. I must admit that during my early thoughts of “I could be an iPhone Apps developer”, I considered making a Catch Phrase type game. Well, the folks behind Buzzword Frenzy beat me to the punch.
There are three game options available: Hot Potato, Sprint!, and Time Trials. Hot Potato is most similar to Catch Phrase where the last player holding the iPod/iPhone when the buzzer sounds loses. Sprint! mode calls for each team to guess as many words as possible in a certain amount of time, while the Time Trial mode gives each team a specific amount of words, and the fastest time wins. A wide range of categories and several thousand words/phrases are available as well as an option to download additional word lists is available under the Extras menu. Also included are tips and stats links, though these all require an Internet connection.
Although I didn’t get a chance to test Buzzword with my friends at a party, I was thoroughly impressed with the app. The interface is very smooth, and the game play straight forward and intuitive. Menu transitions are quick, and load times are barely noticeable. I also like that there are multiple ways of playing the game, and similar to the electronic version of Catch Phrase, there’s no additional pieces needed to keep track of the game (yet another reason why the iPhone is the only object you’ll ever need).
I’ll stick to the board game.
Granted, one of my main complaints about Catch Phrase and Taboo! was that the words in these games are a bit on the easy side. This makes sense since it’s probably more fun to rack up points for successful words rather than get stuck on every other word. One potential downfall for Buzzword is that it relies more on phrases rather than single words. Occasionally, these phrases are a bit uncommon, but this gives the game an extra challenge. Also, there is an option to critique words at the end of each round, so there are opportunities for the computer to learn your preferences. I also would have preferred to have some of the manual and tutorials on the iPhone itself instead of needing to connect to the Internet, but I appreciate the attempt to keep the memory footprint small.
If you’re looking for a Taboo/Catchphrase type game, Buzzword Frenzy is definitely worth a look. If the developer delivers on additional word lists in future updates, and possibly additional playing options as imagined, Buzzword Frenzy has the potential to be the party game for the iPhone. Lastly, just as I had an issue with Ballsy’s name, I’m just not convinced that Buzzword Frenzy is the catchiest of titles for this game (why not just call the game Buzz or Buzzword?). If a free lite version becomes available, try it out. Otherwise, feel free to take my advice and go ahead with the $2.99 purchase.