What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Start the Party! is a collection of family-friendly party games you play using the PlayStation Move controller. Other than some mild animated violence -- swatting virtual flying bugs (with green "blood"), whacking a pinata, or zapping cartoon robots -- there is nothing to be concerned about in this game.
What's it about?
\"Party\" games and motion-sensing controllers are what helped the Nintendo Wii become the best-selling video game console in the world. Sony's PlayStation 3 is getting in on the fun with PlayStation Move, a wireless motion-sensing platform (with PlayStation Eye camera) that delivers a similar experience -- but with greater precision, high-definition graphics, and the ability to put \"you\" in the game (and on the screen) too. Start the Party!, one of the launch titles for PlayStation Move, is a collection of fast-paced mini-games that let kids engage in quick exercises, such as swatting bugs, catching creatures into buckets, painting shapes, brushing a crocodile's teeth, hunting for not too scary ghouls, and so on -- all to rack up points and compete with up to three other friends and family in the same room. The camera changes the Move controller you're holding in various items, such as a hair shaver, so that when you look at the screen it appears as if you're holding something different.
Is it any good?
Start the Party! is good but its replayability is limited. That is, these social games are really fun when you start discovering them all (and vie for high-score), not to mention kids will love seeing themselves on the screen interacting with virtual characters, but the fun dies down after a few plays. Sure, this game is ideal for pulling out when friends or family is over -- especially if they haven't seen it before -- but the relatively short number of games, which are over pretty quickly, hurt the game's long-lasting appeal. But at least there are bonus challenges to unlock, stars to earn, and various "rounds," to try, including "quick-fire," "knockout," "winner takes all," "time attack" and "robber" -- each with different rules. Start the Party! isn't a bad game at all, especially for young kids, but you might opt to rent it over a weekend instead of spend $40 on it.
Online interaction: There is no online component to this game.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how whether they like "augmented reality" in a gaming environment. That is, seeing and moving something virtual -- like a cartoon baseball bat -- in a real world environment (i.e. your family room). The PlayStation Move controller delivers this technology to your television -- but is it fun? Do kids like the effect of seeing themselves on the screen, with virtual accessories in your hand?