With its added exclamation mark, you’d expect Start The Party! to spontaneously generate a shindig whenever you fire up the PS3, but in reality Start The Party! would be more likely to generate a scrap with your guests if you ever put it on at a get-together. That’s not to say that the game isn’t fun to play, but give us booze, scantily clad guests, and a hot-tub over this glorified tech demo any day of the week.
The single player mode allows you to play through the nine individual mini-games at your leisure, clocking up high scores on a league table as you go. Each game utilises the Move’s augmented reality capabilities via the glowing balls and Eye to render an everyday object onto the Move controller. On-screen, the neon ball is replaced with a fly swat, a torch, or a paint brush, depending on the game.
Of the nine mini-games, some are more fun than the others. Cut N Colour, the hairdressing game, has a goofy charm, whilst Helicopter Rescue, with its simplistic control system, is strangely enjoyable. Parachute Panic and Poppin’ employ much less intuitive use of the motion control and as such can me more frustrating than party-riffic.
Spooky Shootout and Picture This are the pick of the fairly average bunch. Shootout is like Alan Wake for under-5s, putting you in a darkened room with torch in hand to reveal the oncoming ghosts. When the special ghost comes into play, you have to hide the Move controller behind your back, extinguishing the light – an interesting touch in what is essentially a glorified shooter.
Picture This offers up a series of obscure shapes which you have to fill in with your paintbrush. Once completed the shapes combine to reveal your picture. We know these may not seem exciting, but we’re trying to see the bright side here.
Survival mode in the single player mode is probably the closest you’ll get to feeling in the mood to party. The mini-games are fired at you in quick succession against the clock. Complete a mini-game successfully and your clock regenerates, fail and you run out of time – it’s that simple. It also throws in a few smaller games (mini-mini-games?) like a Whack Attack-esque game where you hammer moles as they pop up out of the ground, and a fruit ninja game where you slice fruit with a giant sword as they’re thrown in your direction. Playing against the clock adds a certain level of pressure, but any thrills are fleeting.
The multiplayer aspect is hugely disappointing as it relies on a pass-and-play mentality rather than toe-to-toe two-player, effectively neutering any chances of a party atmosphere being spontaneously started. There is an element of competition with certain games offering a winner takes all points system, but it feels like a missed opportunity.
In terms of presentation, the game looks and sounds like it’s aimed at five-year-olds, which in itself isn’t a crime, but compared to many of the other ‘party’ games already available for Wii, Start The Party! lacks a certain amount of charm.
It’s an effective demonstration of the possibilities of Move, as there is virtually no lag between your movements and what is relayed back on screen, and left us virtually salivating at the possibilities for future Move release. But as a mid-priced game its appeal is severely limited due its overeager presentation and limited gameplay. This party is more lulls that LOLs.