When the PlayStation Move first launched, with it was what I felt was a gem of a motion-controlled game, Start The Party! Many didn’t agree with me, but still, I had a blast with it. So, I jumped at the chance to Start The Party! for the second time. Did Start The Party! Save The World resonate a second time, or should this party have ended with the last one?
While the first game was sold at retail, Start The Party! Save The World is being sold as a PSN-only title, for a budget price – that threw up a red flag for me immediately. But, being such a fan of the first attempt by Supermassive Games, I looked past it with anticipation.
I could instantly see why this was kept to the PSN and never saw the flicker of a retail store’s fluorescent lights. It’s extremely lacking in overall content. About 20 mini-games make up the bulk of the “fun”, played either Solo or in Party mode. Party mode lets you choose between your standard, you play, I play, versus fare, or Quick Fire, which puts short snippets of these mini-games on rapid shuffle. In the normal party mode, you can choose a short, medium, or long playthrough. Strangely, even long is really short, and I was shocked to reach the final game in less than 10 games played. And there isn’t any of those mid-game switch-ups there used to be, like how you could draw on an opponents face or change their name. It’s just gone, and with it any sort of unexpected zings that always make for added fun playing a party game.
That’s it. That’s all there is for multiplayer, you know, the “party”. Up to three other plays can join you, but you have to pass the PlayStation Move controller. There’s not even an option to use more than one Move if you have them. However, if you have a DualShock 3, another player can take control of one of the on-screen sub-characters to either help you or screw you over. But still, you can’t use a second Move controller for that.
If multiplayer is not lame enough, the Solo mode is even more lacking. You can Free Play through the mini-games, or face them in succession with increasing difficulty using Survival mode. Nothing else to see here. I kid you not.
Even the lack of content or modes would be forgivable if what was there was worth playing. But it’s not, unfortunately. The mini-games lack the charm and variety found in the previous version, and compared to other party games like Mario Party, Start the Party! Save The World is borderline offensive that it’s being sold for $29.99 with this little content. Even though there are 20 games with varying themes, there are only five or so ways to play, then they’re repeated across multiple games. Some have you aiming and shooting, others have you dragging, dropping and stacking, while another type will have you grabbing. Sure they’re presented to you in different ways, but don’t kid me, these are the same games again and again. Just because you throw a different coat a paint on a shitbox, doesn’t make it a Ferrari.
The AR stuff from Start the Party! is mostly missing, too. It’s there in tiny bits, but it’s done so ineffectively, I have no choice but to shake my head in shame at the developers – because I know they can get this right. I don’t know if this game got shut down three weeks into development, but this is no sequel, it’s five steps backwards.
The only redeeming quality Start The Party! Save The World has going for it, is that my three-year-old daughter got a kick out of seeing her face on the screen and hearing it say back her name. So there is at least some — although very, very little — value there. But even she was getting frustrated that the game just wasn’t doing what she wanted it to do. And that’s not her fault or a fault of her age – she can play Plants Vs. Zombies and win (up until the nighttime stages) just fine.
A lot of this review feels like I’m wanting Start the Party! Save the World to be more like the original, but that’s not true. What I really want is my time I spent playing this back, and for another one never to be created. There isn’t enough game here to cost more than $5.99, and what is here is frustrating and feels thrown together lazily. Sony was smart keeping this hidden on the PSN, because I promise you this, this is not a party I would want to attend. Instead of saving the world, I wish I could have been saved from playing this game. Don’t buy this.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
– Lacking in content, modes, and fun.
– Way overpriced for what you are getting.