Start the Party Review

By Dana Vinson - Posted Sep 01, 2010

Start the Party! is a collection of 20 mini-games that utilize Sony's new motion controller, the PlayStation Move. Unfortunately, the game is repetitive, boring and unimpressive. Whatever you do, don't start this party. You'll be sorry.

The Pros
  • It's short
  • It'll turn the Move controller into whatever you're supposed to be holding in the game
  • You appear on screen
The Cons
  • It's extremely repetitive
  • It actually subtracts fun
  • No simultaneous multiplayer

I am a mature enough human being to admit that I like party games. I think they are fun and entertaining on many occasions. One of the reasons I like them is because people generally have a good time while playing them together. It's sort of like how most people don't show up to a comedy show hoping not to laugh; people don't start playing a party game unless they intend to have fun.

Start the Party! throws my entire outlook on party games out the window. A mini-game collection designed to use the PlayStation Move, Start the Party! actually sucks fun from the room and leaves you thinking you should probably call the doctor and enquire about a spur of the moment colonoscopy.

Start the Party

Let's Get It Started! Or Not...

Party is a party game and supports one to four players. There is no simultaneous multiplayer, meaning that you take turns one at a time playing the games. The game starts by having each player approach the PlayStation Eye for a portrait session. The picture that results is then used as your avatar for the remainder of the competition. You are also asked to record your name using the PlayStation Eye's onboard mic. The glory of this is that the game will just replay the clip whenever it's your turn and you can say whatever you want. Since it's just a recording, there's no profanity filter. Cha-ching!

After all the administrative business is in order, you jump right into the games. You can select from two modes: free play and survival. In free play, you choose from a straight list of mini-games to compete it one at a time. Survival, however, pits you against the other players, keeping track of your score with a highly arbitrary system of points that are seemingly handed out like candy, but then, sometimes, taken away for little or no reason. You can then set the number of rounds you would like to play and set the difficulty to easy, medium or hard. Changing the difficulty seems to have no affect on the actual gameplay.

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Cut The Hair On The Troll And Other Mini-Game Gems

Let's talk a little bit about the mini-games themselves. They don't vary much in gameplay, in that you're constantly swatting things on the screen. In some games, you smash bugs. In another, you whack moles. In one game, you use a fan to blow birds into nests, but quickly goes south once you realize if you hit them with the fan, you chop them up and their feathers go flying. The one standout game was one where you use the controller as a flashlight to find ghosts and then use the trigger to shoot them. That one was actually fun, but that's it.

There are only 20 mini-games total and if you set your survival mode to a few rounds and play twice, you're going to see the same games over and over and over and over again. Or maybe it's not even that you actually see the same games over and over and over again. Maybe it's that they all feel so similar you feel like your constantly repeating yourself. Oh wait, it's both.

On top of all of this, the game is unresponsive at times. When you're being required to squash bugs, you usually do so with a quick motion. You'll find that slow and steady is more likely to produce the results you're looking for in Party. Either that, or you'll be able to watch yourself on screen wave the controller around like an idiot and not hit a blasted thing.

Start the Party

The Worst Party Ever...Staring You!

Party utilizes the PlayStation Move controller and the PlayStation Eye to put you right into the "action." The game is what's known as "augmented reality" meaning that while you are playing each mini-game, you appear on the television screen interacting with a cartoon overlay. One of the only impressive things about Party is the fact that the game will turn the Move controller into whatever you're supposed to be holding. Say you're supposed to be swatting bugs, (Which, spoiler alert, you'll do a lot. Have I mentioned that yet?) your controller will look like a fly swatter in your hand.

Meanwhile, all of this is happening while some wisecracking announcer is hurling the most innocuous, passive aggressive insults your way. He doesn't help make the experience any more fun.

During one of our games, we did get a fun little treat. When I fell behind in points, I was able to record a new nickname for my opponent which would then play whenever it was his turn. It was a glimpse into what Party could have been if a minimal amount of effort had been put into the metagame. There's nothing that ties this unimpressive collection of mini-games together and it's a shame.

Start the Party

Don't Start This Party

Start the Party!, which is clearly aimed at gamers of all ages, should be judged by it's universal appeal. Even using that standard, this game is unforgivably bad. It lacks any depth or replayability whatsoever. It's the same set of 20 minigames rotated in a different order over and over again. The mechanics get old so fast. In fact, it's almost instant. I think even kids would find that this game gets old quick.

Party games require a minimum amount of effort to actually be fun, because people who play them are just looking to have a good time; however, Start the Party is so abysmal it actually subtracts fun. It's like showing up to a pool party and forgetting your bathing suit.