on 16-12-2011 02:27 PM
First up in my Chrimbo Move party game round-up is Supermassive's follow up to their successful Move launch title 'Start The Party'
In 'Save The World' Supermassive have decided to implement a narrative of sorts. The rather nasty 'Dr. Terrible' intends to take over the Earth and it's up to you to stop him by waggling your controller around with a belly full of Turkey, clearly he intends to trigger a stitch in the player as well as conquering the planet.
The games on offer are a mixed bag you'd normally associate with a Move compendium title. Highlights are 'Robot Repair' where you're required to quickly strip robots on a conveyor belt of any dodgy parts and fix 'em up sharpish and 'Astro Bounce' where you use the controller to draw force fields around little astronauts to protect them from asteroids. At any time in the freeplay single player mode onlookers can use a DS3 to control little characters and aid you in your quest or get on your nerves and generally hinder progress, a nice little gimmick.
All in all there are a rather decent 20 odd games scattered throughout and the Move implementation is accurate and intuitive, though I did have the occasional issue with some games that required me to lean down and to the left to reach certain objects, I could often just not quite get there.
Multiplayer offers a series of turn based games where the emphasis is on trumping your friends high scores. Unless I missed it I was a little disappointed by the lack of games where two or more could take part in a single game.
Looks wise it's all very clean, smooth and cartoony and supermassive have paid homage to their 50's sci-fi vibe very well with big clunky robots and cute little flying saucers. It all whips by nicely, animations are excellent and the action never slows down however frenetic matters get.
All in all a polished party game that will provide a lot of laughs over the Christmas period. It has bags of character but is let down by the common party game caveat, that being a lack of any real depth. My criticisms aside, get the family together and you'll have a ball.
Right, I threw on my 'I don't belong here' T-Shirt, roped in my 6 year old niece for this one and booted it up!
In Sony Santa Monica's Carnival Island you're essentially looking at Start The Party for kids. Two children stumble upon a run down island, it's your job to play mini games in each of the four districts returning them to their former glory by doing so. Upon achieving high(ish) scores and beating set challenges in each game you earn tickets and unlock subsequent games in each category (coin toss, frog jump, shooting range and more) as well as earning credits to buy balloons, bubble blowers and other items my niece enjoyed collecting.
The story, as usual is fairly bare bones but at least it tries to create some kind of atmosphere and while cheery it dabbles with themes of decay and many of the games are rooted in the past.
The Move implementation is extremely accurate both as a pointing device for shooting ranges and as a motion tracker for the Hoop and basketball challenges and while aimed squarely at children some of the basketball challenges had me pushing my niece to one side in order to have just one more go in trying to refine my aiming!
The only issue we had was with the hoop and bowling games where you have to throw the objects at targets, often the perspective seemed a little off, targets would appear fairly close to the screen requiring a light throw only to fall way too short.
The graphics are perfectly good and suitably colourful throughout, sound is cheerful and cutesy as you'd expect from a kiddies title. There are a few performance issues with some screen tearing during motion between areas and a little slowdown but thankfully the mini games themselves aren't affected.
Kids love Carnival Island, fact. While I tired of it after a few hours my niece played it all afternoon and didn't want to go home (a first when visiting her boring uncle). It's well put together, boasts a range of intuitive and addictive games and presents a significant challenge to kids and adults alike. Some performance issues, long load times and the totally open nature from the get go let the package down at times but carnival Island would make a fine stocking/HDD filler for your rug rats on Christmas day.
Right, I'm off to fire more frogs into stacks of dominos. You know, normal stuff for normal adults.
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