Nov 8, 2007
While the full-sized Buzz! games are quiz contests, the only question this collection of 25 mini-games for four players asks is, "How do you want to torture your monkey today?" And despite the fact that we're grown men with arguably grown-up lives, we've found that we like it almost as much. The key, we have to confess, is a little something called sadism.
On the surface, Jungle Party is an innocent kiddie game - and on that level, it works beautifully. The little ones will love the fancy controllers, which have four small buttons and one big, flashy red one, and when they get to choose shirts, shoes, and headgear for their day-glo monkeys, they'll get even more excited.
But for those of us with double-digit ages, there's a different appeal - the chance to inflict comically brutal punishment upon your friends' onscreen simian. Many of the 25 events seem specifically engineered to subject monkeykind to blackly humorous torture. Quick-draw contests with bananas and slow-mo death scenes are one thing, but you'll also see your opponents electrocuted, caught holding a detonating bomb, crushed under falling hippopotamuses, getting their heads chomped on by lions, and shot out of giant catapults, among other injurious indignities.
Now, don't worry if you actually want to play this with a child - it's not gory. It's just Coyote and Roadrunner-style funny. We also suspect some additional off-screen violence: there's one great event in which a cranky gorilla is strapped to a wheel and your job is to huck paint-filled balloons at him. Two guesses what's going to happen to the monkeys when he's cut loose.
Sure, this is a kid's game, and the events that don't feature monkey-on-monkey violence are pretty bland (Footraces. Whee.) But it has personality, and if you've got a room of gamers, it's a decent change of pace for a night or two - especially if you're of age and can turn it into a drinking game. It's also the best way to get four more buzzers to play the grown up game, which supports eight players but only comes with controls for four. The grown-up Buzz! games might make you feel smart, but this makes us feel evil. And sometimes, that's way more fun.