Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party is a title that utilises the four USB buzzers in a different way than the other Buzz! titles. Junior Jungle Party is designed for children, so you won't be answering questions or making tough decisions, instead you'll be using the buzzers to complete basic activities, such as passing a bomb or copying the actions off a screen. These changes fundamentally change Buzz! and make Junior Jungle Party a lot more basic, even though the game is a lot more basic, it contains a large number of mini games and is a title that is very likely to be popular amongst the kids.
When Junior Jungle Party first begins you'll be treated to a minute long FMV of four monkeys playing happily in a jungle, they're chasing bananas and all of a sudden end up in a stack of bananas. We were hoping the introduction would provide a little bit more of a description why we're actually playing the mini games, but all you get are extremely happy monkeys. Once the FMV has finished you'll see a familiar Buzz! title screen (albeit with a Junior logo accompanying it) where you can choose to play either single player, multiplayer or practice any of the minigames.
The single player mode is divided up into ten mini games. You'll only be able to play through these ten mini games, despite the fact that the full game actually contains fourty mini games. Each mini game has an objective and if you complete twenty of these objectives in the one round then you'll get maximum points. For example, in 'the whack a squirrel' mini game you need to press the correct colour on the buzzer to whack the squirrel, if you successfully whack twenty squirrels within the time limit then you'll recieve the full 8,000 points. After you've played through the ten minigames you'll recieve a final score out of 80,000 and you'll be ranked on the leaderboard. The single player game isn't really that deep, fun or appealing so you're best off sticking to the multiplayer.
As with all of the Buzz! titles, the multiplayer is where the fun in this game really lies. Before jumping into any of the mini games you'll need to choose a monkey, then you'll need to customise the monkey and input your name. After this you can select which type of game to play, you can choose to play a short game or if you've got an hour to kill then you can select the marathon mode. There is also an option where you can customise which games you play, this is by far the best option to choose because like with most minigame collections, some are fun and some are boring. By customising the mini games you're able to skip some of the boring ones.
One of the disadvantages of using the buzzers to play the minigames is that there aren't that many possible game variations. Most of the mini games only require you to select the right colour on the buzzer to complete the mini game. For the most part the minigames are sure to keep the children occupied but adults will find the minigames far too easy. In fact, the difficulty level overall feels a little bit too easy, a ten-year-old is probably unlikely to have much of a challenge at all with the game so it seems that in making the game more appealing to juniors the developers have made the game a little too easy.
Junior Jungle Party tries to inject a bit of humour into the game and the result is iffy. Sometimes the monkey animations are rather clever; especially during the bomb mini game but at other times you're likely to just be annoyed by the animations. One of the gripes we have with the Buzz! titles is the fact that you can't actually pause the game, generally this was "solved" in Big Quiz and Music Quiz by getting you to press the buzzer to progress, this game does the same but at times if you don't push the buzzer the game will progress anyway, which could lose you valuable points.
As is evident in the screenshots, the game isn't exactly pushing the capabilities of the PlayStation 2, some of the games are in very restrictive environments and whilst games like Mario Party sometimes show off some stunning water effects this game is just happy to feature the bare necessities. The same can be said of the commentary, which is often cringeworthy. At the end of the game the female who does the voice overs says "don't blame me, I didn't write this stuff", we'd like to know who to blame because you'll be tempted to mute the game very quickly. The audio isn't helped by the fact that the sound effects are as basic as they come as well.
In single player Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party is probably only going to last you through a few single player games, but the fourty mini games all but ensure that the game will get dragged out at little kid's parties for awhile to come. The difficulty level indicates that the game is aimed squarely at children, so adults would be better off sticking to Buzz! Big Quiz or Buzz! the Music Quiz.
Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party is a game squarely aimed at children, the low level difficulty and basic mini games ensure that adults will be frustrated after about ten minutes. Children however are likely to enjoy the game, it's easy to pick up, has a large number of mini games and features monkeys, which have to be the coolest animals ever. The buzz controller does restrict the type of minigames that are possible, but even with this restriction this game is the perfect introduction to the Buzz! games for little children, there are no questions and hard work to be done, it's all about the minigames which are sure to keep children occupied.