Start the Party! Save the World [Review]

  • Platform: PlayStation 3 (PSN, PS Move Exclusive)
  • Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Developed by: Supermassive Games
  • Genre: Party
  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Number of Players: 1-4
  • Release Date: March 6, 2012

The PlayStation Move has had its ups and downs in regards titles that have been released for it, exclusive titles or Move enabled titles. Some gamers wonder if it still holds any relevancy to the core community, or anyone else for that matter. Simply put, it does. Whether or not some “core” gamers would like to admit it, the PlayStation Move is still being supported with a steady stream of games, some especially for the core crowd, others for everyone else.  The sequel to what I thought was a pretty fun party game, Start the Party!, actually has its appeal to the latter but can still be enjoyed by core gamers and casual players alike. Start the Party! Save the World is that sequel and although it’s not a perfect game, it does the job it is supposed to do.

Start the Party! Save the World follows in the footsteps of the first game. It is a collection of a bunch of augmented reality mini-games that you can play either by yourself, or with a group of friends or family. Start the Party! Save the World doesn’t try to be something that it is not. It is a casual game simply focused on fun mini-games. There’s no real story-line, with a very simple and cartoon-like design – graphics aren’t a focus, and game play consists mostly of just moving the Move controller to and fro.

The game can be played solo (which, despite its name can have up to 2 players involved) or it can be played as a group.  If you are playing solo, you have a few modes that you can choose from, “survivor” and “free play.” Under free play you can choose any of 20 min-games – anything from fishing, to fighting off aliens with a ray gun. Free mode will allow you to play each mini-game fully whereas survivor mode will mix up a bunch of the mini-games and put you on a timer – the more points you get the longer the timer will let you play. Mess up and the timer goes down until you can go no more. Through Solo Mode, because you aren’t really competing against anyone, your points are accrued for each game depending on your performance. Score high enough and your points will be put on a leaderboard. With ‘Group Play’ you can choose from ‘Party’ and ‘Quick Fire’ modes. Party also has a couple of subcategories that will determine the length of the game. You can opt in for a short, medium, or long game that will either give you just a few mini-games to play from or a lot. Party mode allows up to 4 people to compete for the highest score through the aforementioned mini-games. Get the most points throughout the party and well, simply put, you win. ‘Quick Fire’ is similar to survivor mode as it is a mixture of random games that quickly change. Keep up pace to make the most points and come out victorious.

Now, although there is no story, there is an overall theme to these mini-games. There is a villain by the name of ‘Dr. Terrible’ who is dead set on destroying the world, or at least wreaking havoc on it. Through each of these mini-games, you are essentially stopping each of Dr. Terrible’s plans. The games seem a little unpolished and of slightly lower quality from the first Star the Party! game. However it still has quite a bit of minis to choose from. Some are a bit repetitive and I had to double-check to see if I was playing the same game over – I wasn’t. Overall though, the games are pretty diverse and one of the games, what I found to be a favorite from the first game, has made its return, Chopper Rescue. In that game, you control a little chopper with the move controller and pick up civilians being terrorized by a monster rampaging through the city. Your goal is to carry them to safety before they are eaten by the predator. “GET TO THE CHOPPA!” Some of the games will allow another player to take the Dualshock 3 controller and either help or work against the person with the Move controller (depending on the game). This can be done not only in party modes but also, despite the name, in solo mode.

Playing these games alone, unless you are an especially introverted loner, will probably not be very fun. However, the mini-games are fairly amusing in a party setting, with a few drinks (kool-aid for the kids!). I played every game by myself and well, it was alright. When I was able to take it to a game night and play with some friends, it was much better. I think the enjoyment of the company you’re with, the people who have no idea what they are doing or just having a wacky fun time made the game more enjoyable. Find the right people and you can find more fun in this game. The great thing about this is that the group I was able to play with consisted not only of casual gamers, or people who rarely play any sort of video games, but core gamers who usually only play the heavy hitter AAA titles. Despite these differences, we all seemed to have a good time. Kids will probably enjoy it a bit more as a friend’s nephew was having a blast swinging his arms around while whacking bears off of the train and shooting down helicopters. The game offers pretty shallow enjoyment, but still a good time can be had nonetheless.

The controls in Star the Party! Save the World are pretty simple and direct. Move the motion controller; And thankfully because the Move is pretty responsive and accurate, that makes the gameplay that much simpler. However, there were moments where the move controller just felt a little sluggish such as in the menu of the game. However, during the actual mini-games, it seemed to work just fine and followed every twist, turn, and swing of the hand. Some of the games might cause a bit of confusion for the first few moments of gameplay, however once you get used to what you are supposed to do, then accomplishing tasks can be quite easy with the motion controller.

Now, Start the Party! Save the World is by no means an amazing game and offers just about nothing in-depth. As stated in the beginning, not all games are aiming to be “Game of the Year” winners. Start the Party! is not trying to be something it is not. While that is true, there are a few things in the game that brought down the quality which I thought were just lazy. First and foremost, the one thing that I along with those around me agreed upon as annoying – the narrator. The voice over just sounds bad. While you are on the main menu, you will be constantly reminded by what seems to be a last-minute cassette recording to choose a game, pick a mode, and so on. The quality of the voice over is rather bad. I wouldn’t say it’s the voice actor’s fault but whoever did the sound mixing, it was not a very thorough job. It was loud, slightly muffled, almost static sounding, and overall, unpleasant. Especially when you hear it every few moments. Needless to say, the speaker volume was on low for most of the time through the game. Another thing I thought was pretty cool in the first game was that you could actually sabotage, or interact with other players in a competitive manner. You could take their points, draw on their character’s face, or other fun little things. Unfortunately, all of those features were taken out of this game and you are simply just competing for the highest score. Little things could have improved the quality of the game overall and I feel like it was slightly rushed out.

Overall, Star the Party! Save the World was a decent party game. It provides a new opportunity for family and friends to get together and have a little friendly, wacky, competition. Nothing about this game blew me away. Some of the mini-games are repetitive, the sound isn’t that great, and the gameplay is pretty shallow. However, it’s amazing how you can find amusement in these type of things with a group of friends. The point that I really realized that Start the Party! Save the World succeeded in its purpose was when a few of the people at the game night requested that we “do this again.” So although you will not be blown away by the game, the simple fact stands, it offers a new source of fun for groups to have together.

FINAL SCORE: 6/10 Okay

 

(A free copy of Start the Party! Save the World was provided GamerXChange for review purposes)

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