Start The Party, whilst not the strongest of the Move’s launch line-up, is a game you’ll almost certainly want to at least experience, if not necessarily own. Playing out like an extended set of augmented reality tech demos, Start The Party offers up a nicely rounded array of mini-games designed to show off not only the ridiculous accuracy and flexibility of the Move controller but also make you feel like a child again, incorporating huge amounts of hapless, endearing fun into every possible second of gameplay.
There’s two main ways to play Start The Party, with a friend over a set number of rounds or by yourself as you tackle each minigame individually – both alternatives offer up the same principles, but the points-based competitive mode allows you to battle against your opponent’s scores for each round in order to win stars. Every so often there’ll be an interlude or a bonus round which will see you defacing your friend’s avatar photo, or changing their recorded sound effect, a neat diversion and another way to show off some Move magic.
A couple of the minigames are a real delight, and the best ones are the simplest: projecting an image of yourself on the screen might recall some Eyetoy nightmares but the way the Move controller becomes whatever the particular game wants it to be (a paintbrush, a fan, a swatter, a bubble burster) is not only clever but essential to the implementation of each game. They’re so basic but yet so fundamentally obvious that you don’t need instructions, just a direction and a reminder is enough for most of them.
So, look out for Spooky Shootout, which involves you using the Move as a torch as you look around your own darkened room for ghosts (pressing the trigger to shoot them and hiding the controller behind your back when the red one passes by). Keep an eye out also for Picture This, which transforms the Move into a paintbrush as you delicately try to make rude shapes from the ovals and squares provided in order to liven up the eventual reveal of whatever it is you’re meant to be piecing together with primary colours.
Cut and Colour is delicious, too – as hairy, slightly odd looking chaps are wheeled into view with a pre-determined haircut requirement at the top of the screen. Your job, and you’ll need to be quick, is to cut their hair using electric clippers and then dye them as per their wants. It’s a scream, especially when the speed hots up and your buddies scores are scrolling into view. However, there’s a few stinkers, seemingly only there to boost the tally of games on the back of the box to something resembling the industry norm for genre staples like you’ll find on the Wii.
The biggest problem, though, is that Start The Party is only really a single player title. Sure, there’s a pass-the-Move ‘multiplayer’ mode but it’s strictly one at a time and it’s hard to imagine any other reason than time why the technology couldn’t track two players at once, which would have transformed what is a disappointingly solitary blast of fun into something essential for new Move owners. Don’t misunderstand, Start The Party is fun for a limited time, and a real giggle with the right group of mates when showing off the Move, but a two player simultaneous mode would have been wonderful.
- Great fun with a few friends
- Some of the games are utterly brilliant
- Not so much fun on your own
- Some games are a little bit dull
- There’s not an enormous amount to it
Start The Party is Sony’s evolution of pretty much everything that came before on the Eyetoy, wrapped up into a gloriously colourful bubble of fun that can’t fail to raise a smile. It’s not going to change the world and the fact that it’s one player at once is a real shame, but it’s highly likely to get the grandparents giggling like kids, and, to be honest, when you’re buying a game like Start The Party, that’s all you can ask for. Just don’t expect it to last very long.