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Start the Party: Save the World

13:3822/11/2011Posted by Simeon PaskellNo Comments

With Start the Party: Save the World, the PlayStation Move gets serious. Set in the near future in which planet Earth has been ravaged by pollution, war and collapsing economies, you – as a lone ideologist – must form a political party, guide it to power and then set about bringing peace and harmony to the world. Wars must end, the environment must be cleaned-up and the corrupt practices of fat-cat bankers must be eradicated. It is at once a harrowing and informative experience that brings into stark reality some of the toughest questions that modern society now faces.

If this sudden shift in direction surprises you, then…well…it should, as the above is an outright lie. Start the Party: Save the World is, you see, actually exactly what you would expect – a collection of 20 party-focussed mini-games. There’s lots of bashing, shooting, grabbing, waving and prodding…but very little in the way of socio-economic critique which in fairness, is probably for the best.

Just as with the first game, Save the World serves up a selection of Move motion-controller/augmented reality based party challenges that can be played in a number of different modes. The biggest change this time around is that, rather than merely being a collection tied together by the vaguest of contextual threads, the game introduces an action-movie theme. The heinous Dr Terrible is on the rampage, and it is down to you, your Move controller and PlayStation Eye to bring him to book.

As with the last game, Save the World places you in the action – a direct video feed of the player appears in the game, and through the magic of augmented reality all manner or virtual devices are placed in the palm of your hand. Goals are incredibly simple and generally entirely singular in their design – rescue the diver, protect an ambulance patient, hit the robotic bears with a flippin’ great mallet…. you get the idea.

Key to the game is the implementation of the Move the controller and once again the technology holds up remarkably well, making for an experience that’s eminently approachable for all gamers, young or old. Calibrating the Move controller is easy, and the illusion that you have a virtual gadget (be it a mallet, laser pistol or fishing rod) in your hand remains rock solid throughout. As a demonstration of the tech, the game is perfectly serviceable.

Sadly, ‘serviceable’ is a word that can be attached to Start the Party: Save the Wold as a whole. While the simple mini-games are enjoyable enough (and can actually border on riotous…for a while at least), there is simply not enough structure around them to make the game anything other than a minor distraction. Multiplayer – which should clearly be a strong point – feels incredibly limited in only supporting one Move motion controller and with every game mode requiring you to take turns, rather than compete directly. Developer Supermassive Games do attempt to open things up by allowing a second player to partake in the onscreen action with a DualShock 3, but the impact of this feels disappointingly slight. There is also extreme brevity in the number of multiplayer modes, with the most significant change you can make being on the length of each play session.

As a budget-price sequel to a party-themed launch title, it comes as little surprise that Start the Party: Save the World takes very few risks; what is surprising is how it does little to rectify the issues that hampered the first instalment. Lacking in depth, breadth and content it fails to establish itself as a regular addition to your party-game collection, coming across as an introduction to a bigger idea, rather than a fully formed package able to stand on its own. The budget price and young target audience could be used as a justification for this, but with the wonderfully entertaining and similarly budget Medieval Moves sharing the same shelf-space, this argument really doesn’t wash. With a single player of little merit you are left with a selection of glossily presented yet only mildly-distracting mini-games that all too quickly lose their novelty. In fairness, there is some fun to be had here, and Supermassive Games do show a degree of competency in utilizing the PlayStation Move, but sadly competency really isn’t enough to get a party jumping.

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