The second title in the PlayStation Move launch line up, Start the Party is intended for a wide, casual audience. A successor to the PlayStation 2’s EyeToy: Play, Start the Party uses both the PlayStation Eye camera and the Move controller to create twenty augmented reality mini-games.
Via the Eye, you’ll see a live feed of yourself looking out of the television, over which is superimposed a 2D game. Once calibrated, the Move controller becomes any number of cartoonish 3D objects, from a paintbrush to a torch, a harpoon or a tennis racquet. The size of the object in your hand directly correlates to your distance from the screen. Rotate the controller and you’ll see the object twist on screen. For a fleeting moment you’ll see the Move controller at its best: supremely fluid and responsive.
Unfortunately, calibrating the Move controller and watching the coloured bauble transform for the first time is a brief highlight in what is otherwise a short lived experience.
Start the Party is for up to four players, all of whom share a single Move controller and take it in turns to play quick rounds of each mini-game.
The mini-games themselves are a mixed bag, with the occasional highlight and more than a couple of lowlights, but by and large they’re the sort of gimmicky fun that is unlikely to keep many people – irrespective of their age or past experience with games – entertained for more than a couple of hours.
Lowlights include Poppin’, wherein the controller is transformed into a harpoon and players must pop multicoloured blowfish as they move up the screen. The crowding on the screen means it’s very difficult to see where your harpoon is, to say nothing of the fact that the stabbing motion required isn’t particularly responsive.
Highlights include Spooky Shootout wherein the Move controller is transformed into a torch which you must use to spot ghosts so that you can shoot them. You’ll also need to hide your torch behind you back when dangerous red ghosts appear.
Cut and Colour gets players trying their hand at hairdressing and Blown Away turns the controller into a fan with which players must guide falling birds back to their nests.
But the real disappointment is that there are no standouts. There’s nothing in Start the Party that will get anyone coming back to try and better their own score. None of the games have the simple addictiveness of something like Bejeweled or Plants vs. Zombies.
Tomorrow’s young gamers might get some very brief thrills out of Start the Party. It capably shows off what Move can do but ultimately its offering is far too thin at the asking price. Casual gaming audiences deserve better – and get better – on the Nintendo Wii.
If Sony hopes to woo this market, they’ll need to work harder.
We have another couple of Move-exclusive titles we're working our way through, so stay tuned to see if any developers can actually utilize the capabilities of the device.