PlayStation Move Preview: The Launch Games

By Xav de Matos, Sep 10, 2010 8:45am PDT Along with sending me the necessary hardware to preview its upcoming peripherals, Sony sent over a number of titles specifically designed for the PlayStation Move. Make sure to read our detailed preview of the PlayStation Move hardware.

Rather than review each launch title, we've decided to give Shackers extended impressions of the review-build software that will be available at launch for the PlayStation Move.

From the required sports-themed mini-game compilation of Sports Champions to raising an adorable EyePet, the experiences for Move at launch are varied. But which experiences are we willing to keep playing?

Sports Champions

After the tremendous success that was Wii Sports, it was easy to guess both Sony and Microsoft would attempt to bring the mainstream to its motion-based peripherals with a collection of sports titles. Microsoft has Kinect Sports, Sony has Sports Champions.

For those without the PS Eye camera, Sports Champions is bundled in a set alongside the required camera and a single Move controller for $99. (This core package is what I suspect most will be purchasing on day one.)

Sports Champions features six competitive sports: table tennis, bocce, volleyball, disc golf, archery, and (for some reason) gladiator duel.

As you may suspect (especially if you've put as much time into Wii Sports as I have) the star of the show is table tennis. Unlike the Wii version, every little movement made when playing table tennis matters. Accuracy is so great that the game recognizes soft taps, ball spin, and body positioning. It's honestly the most realistic execution I've ever played. However, I suspect its accuracy may be a problem for some users.

I suspect a lot of the fun that comes with playing a casual experience is how forgiving that game is, pushing fun factor above realism. That in mind, I feel like the same people who adore Wii Sports for its simplicity may lambaste Sports Champions for requiring realistic input to the onscreen action. As a gamer, I love it. For those who are looking for simple fun, it might hinder their experience.

Although its inclusion is odd when compared to the other sports in the collection, gladiator duel is a fantastic mini-game. While it's still fun with a single Move controller, you'll only get the "most" out of the experience using two of Sony's motion-controller wands. Using one hand as your sword and the other as your shield, gladiator duel is the 1:1 sword-play experience we've had in the back of our mind when the Wii was first revealed, but has yet to be delivered. Archery is another standout, proving once again how accurate the Move is. With one Move controller the experience is fun and simple, with two is becomes a little more competitive and intense as your body positioning really factors into the execution of your arrow shots.

The rest of the included games are fun distractions but don't reach the same heights as table tennis, gladiator duel and archery.

While a second Move controller enhances some experiences, it's not necessary to purchase another unit to have fun with the game. Sports Champions is a fantastic pack-in title for new Move users purchasing the bundle, but is also recommended for those grabbing the controller separately.

Kung Fu Rider

With a concept so strange, I was hopeful that Kung Fu Rider would live up to its concept and be the one game for PlayStation Move I could return to again and again for "mindless fun." Sadly, the game isn't very entertaining.

The entire game is based on escaping deadly Yakuza by riding down streets in a variety of strange make-shift vehicles, such as shopping carts and office chairs. The issue with Kung Fu Rider is its progressing complexity. Although its basic movement is relegated to tilting the Move controller from side to side, the game soon introduces a plethora of other mechanics which use multiple buttons on the wand-like controller. Remembering what to do wouldn't be such an issue if each level wasn't so painfully short and things in the world you're meant to interact with weren't whizzing so quickly.


Kung Fu Rider

I may have been able to forgive the game if it had been a cheap, downloadable PSN title launched as an impulse buy to give gamers a few laughs. Unfortunately, Kung Fu Rider is a $40 retail launch title.

With so many mechanics tied to traditional controls, motion-control feels like an afterthought in Kung Fu Rider. Rather than show off the hardware's potential, Kung Fu Rider feels like it was developed to pad PlayStation Move's launch lineup.

Tumble

Included with one of my review builds was a demo for the upcoming PlayStation Move-exclusive, downloadable title Tumble. Unlike Kung Fu Rider, gameplay is extremely simple, which makes fun and mastery the key experiences throughout the game's lifespan.

Shackvideo users can use the HD Stream.

In Tumble, players use the Move controller to stack blocks on a platform--almost like setting up for a game of Jenga. The concept is to move the objects and position them in any way in order to build a secure structure. Don't mistake its simplicity for being easy, however, as the game throws multiple shapes, weights and item properties at you to trip up your inner-LEGO architect. When the blocks at your disposal are revealed, it becomes quite evident that Tumble is an intelligent puzzle game.

This is a game where precise motion is essential. It's crucial to place objects carefully on top of each other to keep from the entire block-made structure from buckling under its own weight. The camera can be moved around the structure and the environment is completely 3D, allowing players to approach a challenge from any angle. (Note: Tumble also supports stereoscopic 3D for those with the proper gear.)


Tumble

With multiple challenges, varied game modes and absolutely accurate control, Tumble is an outstanding example of what the PlayStation Move is capable of.

EyePet

Of all the games I had a chance to play, EyePet was clearly the one aimed outside of my particular demographic. That said, EyePet is all kinds of adorable.

After a painful, live-action tutorial and lengthy set-up process that battled with my current room structure, I was able to get my very own EyePet. Eventually, the animal can be fully customized from colored fur to wacky apparel but the real experience is in playing with the critter.

Of course you'll have to spend time doing normal pet care activities, like bathing and feeding, but the game features multiple games and challenges to accomplish during your time with the virtual friend. EyePet does structure things for progression with a pet program, which is a set of challenges that reward players with new clothing and items to use with your EyePet.

Although the Move controller is prominently featured throughout the experience, some hold-over elements from the game's original non-Move supported version (only released in Europe) have carried over. Your EyePet will recognize real-world objects coming its way, like jumping over your legs if you swing them in its direction and when you pet the furry creature.

While there's a lot to do in EyePet, it is only a pet simulator. There isn't a difficulty curve attached or challenges aimed at gamers looking for intense action, it's about spending time with an adorable little friend. That said, I grew tired of playing with my EyePet over time as the challenges couldn't hold my attention as much as they did my new friend. It may not be for everyone, but EyePet will certainly put a smile on anyone's face.


This preview was based on review build versions of PlayStation Move software, provided by Sony.

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Comments




  • Heavy Rain is ALMOST enough Move to convince me to buy. If it was $100 for a Move, camera, Sports Champions, and the Nav controller, I'd buy the extra Move and call it a day with my soon-to-be-updated Heavy Rain.

    Unfortunately, they cheaped out and are trying to get me to buy another Move AND Nav controller. And that's just annoying. Yes, I could use a regular controller instead of the Nav, but man that's a kludge. I still think Move has a better future for gaming than Kinect because Kinect just won't be able to support regular games whereas Move'll be for regular and casual games alike.

    I think SOCOM might be enough to lure me over, but we'll see.