Start the Party!

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Start the Party! Game Poster Image
Fun but limited collection of party games.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This collection of mini-games aims to provide fun for the entire family. Players will shine a flashlight on ghosts, catch falling pizza toppings, brush a crocodile's teeth, and so on. The message here is that playing a video game with a group can be entertaining.

Positive Role Models & Representations

"You" star in these games, as you can see yourself on the television screen, with your friends or family members, too. Because there are no other characters in this game, you become your own role model.

Ease of Play

Start the Party! is very easy to play using the PlayStation Move and PlayStation Eye peripherals (required). Simply move your arms around in front of the TV and the "object" you see onscreen in your hands changes depending on your task.

Violence & Scariness

What's this? An "Everyone"-rated game with a warning about blood? It comes from the swatting of cartoon bugs, which burst into green goop. Other mild violence includes zapping cartoon robots, and whacking at pinatas.

Language
Consumerism

What 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.

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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.

Talk to your kids 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?

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 3
  • Price: $39.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Release date: September 17, 2010
  • Genre: Party
  • ESRB rating: E for Animated Blood, Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence

For kids who love playing with others

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