You’ll be pleased to hear that I won’t once be mentioning the tagline to a frankly overrated, poorly paced hit US super-hero drama, in this review. Start The Party: Save The World is Supermassive Games’ second furore into the Start the Party franchise, the first of which was one of the flagship Playstation Move titles and was on the receiving end of some very average reviews. If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise, in a nutshell its this generation’s answer to the EyeToy: Play games, only with notably less influence from Gorillaz. The Start the Party games are undeniably aimed at a young audience, what with the charmingly LittleBigPlanet-inspired visuals and the over-all tone of the game.
Start the Party: Save the World premise is that a cartoonish super-villain -aptly named Dr. Terrible, not to be confused with Neil Patrick Harris- who is intent on causing mayhem and destruction through a series of mini-games. As the name heavily implies, the primary focus of this game is local multiplayer and more specifically with the help of your friends. The first issue is that mini-games of this nature are always going to deliver a short-lived gaming experience, especially when STP!STW! has such limited options in terms of gameplay. You can either play the minigames with in a party mode or alone and that’s it, no difficulty settings and nothing to be said for a competitive online mode.
That said, a neat little feature which has survived the retail transition is the use of faces. In party mode, each player chooses a character -with up to four players-, has their photo-taken and voice recorded, heliumed up for extra child-points. It’s a shame there are only four stock characters, resembling a misjudged Village People tribute act and a trick for even the slightest bit of character customisation was well and truly missed here.
The 20 mini-games themselves are at least enjoyable and utilise the move controller in a relatively successful manner but as ever with the mini-game format, it delivers some fairly mixed results. The shooting games are quite a treat and whilst being short in duration, they’ll draw increasingly bad Tony Montana impressions as the night wears on. Conversely, Astro Bounce is a horrible, illogical game in which you guide astronauts from one space-ship, to another, drawing lines in space in order to prevent your astro-friends becoming space-dust.
It’s incredibly difficult to even think about this game without constantly referring back to the obvious EyeToy: Play! comparisons and the crux of the issue is that since 2003 we really haven’t come a long way at all. Whilst enjoyable, none of the games are even playing the same sport as Wishy Washy, let alone the same ball-park.
For all the bizarre glowing orbs and augmented reality, this game is a prime-example at both showcasing motion controls but more crucially highlighting just how constraining they really are. The amount of time one spends wildly flailing about, and ending up with both carpal tunnel and tennis elbow, is remarkable. Is it fun? Well, yes but for the lay-gamer it’ll soon lose its appeal and will find itself relegated to the level of ‘boardgames-only-played-when-drunk’.
This game was reviewed on the Playstation 3.
Charming visuals and some fun minigames.
Limited game-types, lack of customisation, very limited replay appeal, 2-3 hours play-time.