Start The Party! Review
To this day, a derisive descriptor for most Wii titles would be, “it’s like Game X, but with waggle!” It’s pretty stupid and lazy, and definitely fits the “snarky forum quip” category more than the “reasonable critique” one, but on occasion, it’s brutally accurate. And so shall I appropriate that forumism for Sony’s Start The Party!, which can be described as, “It’s EyeToy: Play, but with waggle!”
Like EyeToy: Play, Start The Party! is a compilation of simple little minigames that each feature a camera or motion-control-specific game. There’s Group Play (hotseat-style multiplayer where up to four players pass the Move Controller around for various challenges) divided into Party (a pretty standardized list of minigames divided into quirky game-like rounds) and Party Mix (a more randomized array of minigames); and there’s Solo Play which further divides into either Free Play (choose among nine minigames) or Survival (where you progress through a randomized array of minigames until you fail). One goofy aspect to the party gameplay that uses both the Move Controller and the PlayStation Eye’s microphone is that, on occasion, you can draw or record over your opponent’s current avatar.
Click the image above to check out all Start The Party! screens.
Most of these minigames are straightforward; there’s the expected “hit things” genre with Bug Bashin’ (just swat at insects in the jungle) and Poppin’ (use a harpoon to poke a bunch of floating fish) and there are some Move-specific games like Cut’N'Color (where you use the Move controller like a barber’s multi-tool to shave and dye hair) and Rooftop Rescue (where you guide a helicopter via the Move controller to pick up passengers and drop them off at a hospital during a monster rampage). There’s also a WarioWare-style set of games where you do a series of extremely simple activities as fast as you can — these range from brushing alligator teeth to using magnifying glasses to find tiny ladybugs.
While a lot of these minigames seem to feature straightforward motion-control tweaks, there are some that feature the Move Controller in neat ways. I particularly like Robot Rumble — where robots march towards you and you knock them down by aiming for a red reticule on each — for its use of both the camera and the Move Controller. Aiming towards a robot’s vulnerable spot is easy at first, but then the reticule shows up rotated 90-degrees (so move your arm to the left to aim upwards on the screen) or mirrored (move left to aim right). That’s a minor thing, but a clever use of both the PlayStation Eye and the Move controller. Or Spooky Shootout, where you use the Move controller like a flashlight to highlight and shoot ghosts in the dark — when a certain big ghost appears, you actually physically cover the little glowball on your Move controller in order to “hide the flashlight” in the game.
Ultimately, Start The Party! is an inoffensive suite of party-centric minigames; they range from amusing distractions to boring EyeToy Play rehashes. This kind of game is par for the course when it comes to introducing new motion-centric hardware, and it is exactly as you’d expect. While some of the games do a better job of showcasing the capabilities of PlayStation Move than others, it’s still pretty much just, “EyeToy: Play, but with waggle.”