With the PlayStation Eye now out (as part of Eye of Judgment) SCEE have added the first few downloadable titles to the Store. Whilst we’re confident that future games will be impressive, the initial batch wasn’t quite as good as we’d thought it would be. We’ll have full reviews of both Eye of Judgment and Eye Create soon, but in the meantime click through for Trials of Topoq, Aqua Vita and Operation Creature Feature as we spend money so you don’t have to.
Trials of Topoq
Clearly, the initial batch of PlayStation Eye titles were only ever going to be tasters of what the machine is capable of, rather than fully fledged games, and Trials of Topoq is certainly little more than a tech demo. Despite a slightly hefty price tag (£3.49) it’s hard to imagine how you would get as much entertainment from this download as the equivalent value in peanuts, beer or a video rental. Essentially a basic Marble-Madness style creation, rather than the usual premise of either controlling the ball directly, or tilting the environment itself, Trials instead projects your image (via the Eye, of course) onto several flat, horizontal areas around each level, in a mosaic fashion.
You then ‘move’ your arms, legs or head to create hills out of the mosaic tiles – frantic dancing creates higher peaks, and such the ball begins to roll away towards the now lower sections of each square. And so the game is defined: you must move your body to make the ball move away from you, and into a well to bring about the next level. Think of it like when you push two positive magnets together, and you’ll get the idea. Sadly, it’s just not fun – the tracking is accurate enough, but the whole premise is flawed enough to become dull very quickly – without online leaderboards (and just three local high score spots for each set of levels) there’s limited replayability except to better yourself but the incentive simply isn’t there.
As an aside, this would have been wonderful if the game asked you to hold up one single Eye of Judgment card (or use the SixAxis’ tilt sensor) and thus tilt the whole environment a la Super Monkey Ball.
At only £1.99 this was simply too cheap to pass on – Aqua Vita is essentially a digital fish tank, with selectable fish and limited Eye functionality. You can walk up to the tank, move around and watch fish follow you, or make a noise and watch them swim away – apparently you can also feed the fish, but this didn’t really work consistently enough to warrant the bullet point for us. The concept is basic, but the graphics are pretty good for what it is (although a 1080p option would have been better) and the motion of the fish, coupled with the gentle pulsing of the water pump and the bubbles creates a brilliantly soothing little toy, albeit a very limited one.
Operation Creature Feature
As with Trials of Topoq, this is a £3.49 title, and we were hoping for something along the lines of Lemmings – the Store description certainly sounded that way. What you get, however, is another great looking tech demo, this time the developers testing out motion tracking rather than just movement. Viewed from the side, you’ll see a cutaway of each graphically rich level which will consist of an entrance, an exit and loads of little cute blob-like things that you must ‘pick-up’ and guide out of the room before the time runs out.
All you really need to do, mind, is guide your hand towards them, at which point they’ll ‘stick’ to you, and then gently follow the route through the level to the exit. They all have their own collision detection and limited physics, so as the levels get tougher you’ll find more things to spoil the flow of progression, and there are various traps and things to get in the way, but ultimately there’s not much here to hold your interest aside from the local highscores, as in Trials of Topoq. Both games let you pose for a mugshot instead of writing your name, which is a cool feature, but we’ve already got arses and fingers here at TSA Towers, we dread to think what’s going to get photographed next.