Cody Giunta
17 Sep, 2010

Start the Party! Review

PS3 Review | A party worth crashing?
With the arguably casual and party nature of motion control games, it was inevitable that the PlayStation Move control system would launch with a pick-up and play title which places emphasis on short bursts of frantic action, combined with a focus on multiplayer. Start the Party! is Sony’s attempt at injecting one such title into its line-up this September. While it may not necessarily break any new ground in terms of gameplay and encounters some longevity issues, it nonetheless manages to be a competently made and reasonably attractive title for the market that Sony seem to be aiming for.

The mini-games on offer in Start the Party! are not overly complex, but most do well to demonstrate the various capabilities of the Move controller and the revamped EyeToy. Initially you will take part in nine different mini-games encompassing a variety of mad-cap activities, such as swatting bugs, hunting for ghosts, zapping robots and saving baby chickens from falling to their doom. In each instance, the EyeToy will show you performing actions on-screen, with the Move controller often taking on a new appearance in each game – you might find yourself grasping a spear to pop some puffer-fish, handling a paintbrush to produce a masterpiece or even wielding a set of hair clippers to give a new haircut or two.

A close shave, or not close enough?

A close shave, or not close enough?
Regardless of the implement used and the action required, the Move controller proves to be accurate and responsive at all times, but some activities require you to be attuned to a certain rhythm to really succeed, such as the poking motion in the fish-skewering mini-game. It can be frustrating at times, but once you tap into just what’s required, any mistakes made will more often than not be the result of human error rather than recognition failure. In any case, the controller can be recalibrated at any time via the pause menu.

From the outset, Start the Party offers two play types, each with their own mode subsets: Group Play and Single Play. Group Play is the main area of emphasis in Start the Party and where players can compete against one another in either Party Mode or Party Mix Mode. Party Mode allows up to four players to compete against one another in the standard set of nine mini-games over a number of rounds. The eventual winner is decided on the basis of points. Party Mix Mode shakes things up a bit and randomly selects levels for players to compete in and throws in some other mini-games to boot. You and your friends could end up catching pizza toppings as they descend from the top of the screen, slicing up fruit as it gets hurled at you or even a classic whack-a-mole game to work through those frustrations. Other sneakier games are also present which will enable those lagging behind on the leaderboard to steal points from opposing players. Curiously, however, the games are largely of a pass-and-play nature, which in some ways lessens the competitive aspect – there’s really nothing stopping a person from playing against four versions of themselves using just one controller.

Quite the masterpiece...

Quite the masterpiece...
Single-play offers a Free Play mode for players to hone their skills in the main set of nine mini-games, as well as a Survival mode. Within Survival mode, you can expect to encounter all of the mini-games from the Party Mix Mode as you attempt to last as long as possible to gain a spot on the leaderboard. As a solo contest, Survival Mode is on one level a much more engaging experience than free play mode, as a lot of the mini-games outside of the main nine prove to be a lot more varied and eccentric. It’s a shame that players aren’t able to just focus on cleaning a crocodile’s teeth or smashing a rock to unearth a precious jewel contained within – were these additional mini-games to be made readily available, it may have helped to improve the game’s solo longevity.

For all of the question marks that may be raised about its lifespan, Start the Party! does have several aspects of its presentation in its favour. The visuals are bright and cheerful and come across as very smooth and there are no glitching or jagging issues in effect whatsoever. Much of this can be attributed to the cartoonish style of the game, though it hardly pushes the PS3’s graphical limits. By the same token, the music and sounds hit the right notes to further reinforce the party nature of the game and are all crisp, clean samples. The various voice-overs for Start the Party! are similarly zany and over-the-top, to complement the rest of the presentation. Another nice touch is the ability to take your own photo and use it as an avatar of sorts for the multiplayer modes. For your mugshot, the Move controller is replaced by a novelty foam hand. These aspects combined may give it an all-too playful and childish vibe for some, but the style still maintains consistency throughout and is appropriate and somewhat expected given the genre of the game.

You can see yourself on-screen twice!

You can see yourself on-screen twice!
There is no doubt that Start the Party! is best played in the company of friends for short bursts at occasional gatherings. In this respect, the lifespan of the title is appropriate given its pick-up and play nature. For those who would often play it alone, however, the longevity is significantly reduced. Even though there are leaderboards for the free play and survival modes, there isn’t really anything else on offer for the solo gamer – there are no unlockable items or anything else which may compel people to continually play the game.

Start the Party! is a good showcase for just what the Move controller can be capable of, and in this respect it may ignite the imagination for what tricks future Move titles may have in store for us. As a party game, Start the Party! may not swell with innovation and lacks longevity outside of the multiplayer mode, but as a Move launch title it has finely-tuned controls and makes no obvious mistakes in presentation or execution.
The Score
With a short single player lifespan, Start the Party! is produced well enough, but is truly a multiplayer game at heart. 6
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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3 years ago

I've seen quite similar masterpieces on many-a public toilet walls.
3 years ago
Review seems to penalize what is clearly a multiplayer game for not being less...

It's not called start the solitude...
3 years ago
I tried the demo and thought it was great. It's zany and upbeat--just what you with some lively friends around.
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Australian Release Date:
  16/09/2010 (Confirmed)
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