This week sees the launch of Playstation Move, Sony's new motion-control system for the PS3, and while we like the hardware (read our rundown here) it's not going to do you any good without something good to play on it. So we checked out some of the system's launch games. Here's how they stack up.
Given that Wii Sports is the most successful video game for this generation, it's hardly surprising Sony has chosen its sports title as the pack-in game for Move bundles. And although it might be no Wii Sports, it's an excellent demonstration of the Move system's sensitivity. Six sports are on offer: bocce, table tennis, volleyball, archery, disc golf, and a gladiator-style duel. Of those, it's the table tennis and gladiator duel that leave the most striking impressions. If you're terrible at table tennis, prepare to lose; Sports Champions' subtle controls will leave you swinging at air. Its combination of realistic graphics and bizarre ethnically stereotyped characters doesn't quite work, but otherwise this tight minigame collection is an impressive debut.
Start The Party!
Strapping together some 20 minigames, Start The Party! is the Move's take on what's one of the Wii's most popular genres. But although you can party with up to four players, only one can play the minigames at a time: there's no simultaneous multiplayer. This means you won't need additional Move controllers (and at $50 a pop, they add up fast) but all that taking turns will get old. Still, the simple games will appeal to all ages, and the lighthearted graphics suit the overall tone.
You can't help but be captivated with this creative Sony title, which opens with a cute puppy-kitten-monkey, uh, thing hatching out of an egg right in the middle of your floor. Eyetoy draws its cuddly creature (and its numerous toys and accessories) right over the top of the Move camera's view of your living room, so you'll see it hop about your carpet, pounce on your wiggling fingers, and jump through virtual hoops at your every gesture. But it doesn't grow, or change (or die), meaning that once you've rattled through all its toys, you've pretty much seen all this pet has to offer. It's a fascinating demo of what's possible with the Move system -- and the kids will love it -- but as a game, it's an unfulfilling experience.
Kung Fu Rider
Yes, that really is a picture of a guy riding an office chair down a hill. One of those games that could only have come out of Japan, Kung Fu Rider will have you ducking under barriers, laying down kung-fu moves on scrubs, and collecting money along the way. If anything, it's even odder than it sounds, yet the strange mixture of racing, combat, and extreme-sports gameplay doesn't gel. Rent it if you're into kooky Japanese oddities; skip it otherwise.
Sporting tennis, squash, table tennis, beach tennis, and badminton, this is easily the racketyest game you'll play this year. But despite the promise of the formula -- tennis derivatives are perfect for motion-control games -- it's a bit of a let down. If you're looking for the same sensitivity and accuracy that you'll find in Sports Champions' table-tennis minigame, you'll be disappointed. In fact, most likely you'll be disappointed regardless of what you're looking for, unless you're looking for a tired racket sim that wouldn't look out of place on the Wii. If that's the case, this is totally your game.
But how well will Playstation Move fare with more traditional game styles? If Ubisoft's R.U.S.E. is anything to go by, very well indeed. With no mouse and keyboard to rely on, strategy titles like R.U.S.E. are notoriously hard to implement on consoles, but the Move controller provides a slick and responsive way to manipulate both the map and your units. You might have to rearrange your front room a little, as you're not going to want to stand in front of your TV for an extended session, and the game is prone to nagging if you set the controller down outside the camera's gaze. But if this is the shape of things to come, Move is going to be a big success among strategy fans.