EyePet & Friends and Start the Party! Save the World – The PS3 Attitude Reviews
It’s just over a year since the launch of the PlayStation Move, and, in the last few weeks, a new wave of titles has been released for the motion controller. Two of these games are EyePet & Friends and Start the Party! Save the World, both of which are sequels to previous Move-enabled games.
So, how do they play?
EyePet & Friends
EyePet was originally released two years ago, and was later patched with full Move functionality in September 2010. EyePet & Friends also features support for Move, but unlike its predecessor, it was built from the ground up to utilise Sony’s motion controller.
The game opens with an impossibly charming video explaining where EyePets come from; it turns out the furry little guys are bred in the insanely colourful Pet Centre, before shipping out to their new owners. In fact, ‘impossibly charming’ pretty much sums up the whole game.
For example, you’re guided through everything by a narrator who has the same intonation as a Blue Peter presenter; adults will no doubt find the unflinching happiness of the game too much to bear, but children will most likely love it.
Much of the game’s content is unchanged from the first EyePet, but thankfully there are also plenty of additions. For a start, there are a plethora of new activities and many more customisation options, including the ability to create your own toys and costumes for your EyePet.
For the first time in the series, you can even have two EyePets on-screen at the same time, which is where the ‘& Friends’ part of the title comes in. You can also upload any photos, videos and other items to Pet World, the game’s dedicated online community.
Not much content is available from the start though, so you’ll have to unlock various activities by spending Pet Tokens, which are in turn earned by completing various challenges and other minigames. It’s a nice feature, and will no doubt add to the game’s lifespan.
For the most part, the game works well, and the way the EyePet interacts with real-world objects is very impressive. However, problems arise when you play the game in the evening, especially when you (attempt to) interact with your EyePet with your hand.
You see, the PlayStation Eye requires a lot of light to work properly, so the camera will often be unable to recognise your movements and you’ll find it almost impossible to progress. Even when it does work, the grainy picture quality is very ugly.
EyePet & Friends can be brilliantly entertaining when it works, but it is seriously let down by the ageing PlayStation Eye. As a children’s game, it needs to work 100% of the time, but that just isn’t the case, so unfortunately it can sometimes end up being more frustrating than fun.
Start the Party! Save the World
Start the Party! Save the World is a collection of minigames playable only with the PlayStation Move. The game makes use of alternate reality to replace the Move controller with various objects, such as a hammer, scrubbing brush or fire extinguisher.
The premise of Save the World is that Dr. Terrible is trying to take over the world, and it’s up to you to, well, save it. We use the word ‘premise’, because ‘story’ is too strong a word, as it’s really just a half-baked attempt to thematically link the otherwise unconnected minigames.
This doesn’t particularly matter though, because the gameplay itself is fantastic fun. Most of the minigames work really well, and a handful are pure genius. Whether you’re repairing robots, rescuing deep-sea divers or destroying helicopters, you’ll constantly have a smile on your face.
Having said that, your smile will likely falter after an hour or two, because by then you’ll be wondering where the rest of the game is. There might be twenty minigames, but after you’ve played them all, that’s your lot, with nothing else to unlock or keep your interest for long.
Leaderboards would normally rectify this, but unfortunately in Save the World’s case they are local only, with no online functionality whatsoever. This is a massive shame, as the inclusion of online leaderboards would definitely extend the game’s longevity.
However, most people who buy this game will probably do so to play with their family in multiplayer (which supports up to 4 players), which is predictably very entertaining. Things could get painful if everyone played at the same time, so instead, players take it in turns with the Move.
We do have one complaint with the multiplayer though, which is that your scores aren’t saved, not even locally. That means even if you have an insanely good round, your score will be lost to the ages just moments after you achieve it; not cool.
It’s difficult to give a fair verdict on Start the Party! Save the World. On one hand, the fact that there are no unlockables or online leaderboards means there is pretty much no replay value once you’ve tried each of the minigames a couple of times.
However, admittedly the game’s target market isn’t too likely to care about its lack of content. In that sense, Save the World definitely serves its purpose, as young children will no doubt still be perfectly happy with shooting UFOs and rescuing cavemen after hours and hours.