Start the Party should be high on your priority list if you’re looking for an ideal Move game for younger gamers. This compilation of brief mini-games is more fun for kids, but the rest of the family can enjoy it too.
PS2 fans may remember the EyeToy Play titles and this is pretty much an update on that format for the PS3’s PS Eye and new Move motion controller. The camera grabs a live feed of your living room and the player on-screen and surrounds them with colourful, crisp borders for each minigame.
The motion controller in your hand is transformed into an object for each game. This can be a racquet, a sword, a fan, hair clippers and more. It’s impressive how the game tracks your movements on screen; kids especially will get a real buzz out of seeing themselves put into the game so well. The camera will take a picture of each player and record an audio name/noise for you too. The only downside is the lack of HD for the PS Eye meaning the picture is a bit grainy. That’s a tech issue (probably to keep the price down), rather than the game’s fault.
The game supports 1-4 players and the best news is that you will only need one motion controller because all games are turn-based, making this a great four-player party game that doesn’t break the bank by needing four controllers.
There are two multiplayer modes. ‘Party’ provides you with a random selection of minigames for you to compete in where stars are rewarded depending on your finishing position for each game. Things can get interesting as you can steal them from each other later on. ‘Party Mix’ is similar but you choose which games you’d like for each round, unfortunately you don’t get the round with lots of mini-mini games scrolling through with a timer. The final round for both feels a bit off though as the winner of it wins the whole thing. Your stars at the start of the round are converted into time, so the leaders have an advantage, but if they’re no good at the final game, it can fall apart badly for them and might leave them feeling a little sore.
The games themselves are all simple to grasp with three main styles: action, rescue and creative.Bug Bashin’ is a standard bug swatting title that gives you a wooden tennis racket to splatter lots of flying insects. The camera will only respond to swipes if you’re holding the racquet sideways as you would for real. Robot Rumble requires you to hit a target on the screens on the front of oncoming robots. The image shows the room you’re in, but the image can be mirrored, inverted, or rotating to make things extra difficult. Poppin’ gives you a spike to pop coloured water mines, popping the same colours in a chain nets a bigger score, very addictive. Spooky Shootout is a fun gun-zapper game were you shoot ghosts after you find them with the torch, which the motion controller accurately replicates to search the darkness.
Rooftop Rescue tasks you with piloting a rescue helicopter to people stuck on rooftops as a Godzilla-style dino storms around the neighbourhood. Parachute Peril has players using a fan to waft parachuters onto moving rafts and hopefully not into the mouths of waiting sharks. This is one of the weaker games as it’s difficult to hold the fan at the angle the game wants. Blown Away is a game where you rescue falling chicks by using an electric hand-fan to usher them into hanging baskets. And yes, you can hold the fan sideways to mince them up in a puff of smoke and feathers. Hey I had to check, for review purposes.
Cut n’ Colour gives you some hair clippers to shave hairstyles as told and sometimes dye parts with hairspray. This one worked well for the most part, but playing left handed, the game sometimes stuttered when I was trying to lean across to shave the right side of the head, it’s too short a game to worry about it though really. Picture This is a good one for the artsy types; using the controller as a paint brush you fill in the shapes on-screen as best as you can in the time limit. At the end they all piece together to form an animal or object, so there’s a bit of fun in guessing what it will be. It’s impressive when you see how every stroke is represented in the final image.
You can choose a difficulty level for these games which increases the amount and speed of the on-screen action for the chance to get a better score. Everyone can choose their own rating, so there’s a chance to even out the playing field for first-timers.
Survival mode is single-player and hosts lots of shorter games for you to race through. Score well to top up your timer and keep going until you eventually run out. You can take turns to see who lasts the longest. These games involve brushing crocodiles teeth, piñata beatings, mining through rocks for jewels with a pick axe, catching pizza toppings, whack-a-mole, waving a white flag to avoid getting shot, lining up cut-out shapes, finding bugs in your room with a magnifying glass and slicing flying fruit with a pirate’s cutlass. Another of these involved shaking a bell to wake up a bird that is about to be eaten by a cat; with one variation replacing the bell with a microphone, and like a fool I shouted into it because the other games had immersed me into them so well by putting objects into my hand, I just went with it automatically (the microphone’s in the camera, not the controller). These are mixed in with a few micro-sized sessions of the regular games too. To be honest, the really short games found here, that generally only last a few seconds, are much more enjoyable thanks to the quick-fire nature.
- Good mini-games
- Even better mini-mini games
- Great value family/party entertainment
- Not for the hardened gamer (but give it a go anyway)
- Manual selection for the mini-mini-games would have been nice
- Could have done with a few simultaneous two player games
The Short Version: By Christmas this will probably still be one of the better PS Move party games out there, especially if you’ve got some younger gamers to entertain. All the games are done well and are short to play so it’s not one of those games that’s going to wear you out like Sports Champions might.