Mini-games. Apparently, they're still a thing. If you own one of those new-fangled motion controllers for your system, invariably you'll discover that there are mini-game collections to be found for your device. PlayStation Move users have one of these collections available now as a download on PlayStation Network.
This is a review of said game, Lights, Camera, Party! The exclamation mark is only part of the title, nothing more.
Lights, Camera, Party! (PlayStation Network)
Developer: Frima Studio Inc.
Released: August 28, 2012
MSRP: $29.99 ($14.99 for PlayStation Plus)
In the game's story mode, one of APE TV's satellites crashes into the Funzini family's house so the studio owner, Gus Pacho, invites them to star in a wacky game show and compete for the grand prize: THE HOME OF THEIR DREAMS! Players then have to compete against each other in a variety of mini-games sharing a single controller. As each player gains points during their game, whoever wins the round wins a portion of the house designed with their selected character in mind. For example, Papa Funzini loves candy, so his house is themed with sweets, while little Billy Funzini loves cowboys, so his dream home looks western, and so on.
There are five family members to choose from, but this is only used to put a face to your profile in story mode and a style to your home sections. The story mode supports up to four players, but there's a party mode which supports up to eight. Again, all of these modes can be played with a single Move controller.
The mini-games themselves are your standard motion-controlled fare: swing at this, rotate that, move it up to do one thing, down for another, etc. Honestly, there's nothing really inspired or unique that you haven't seen before in another form in some other mini-game collection, but at least the motion controls perform well. Because it's PlayStation Move, they incorporate some forward and back movements -- such as twisting blocks to be pushed into the properly shaped holes -- so it's not just a lot of waggle (though there is plenty of that, too).
There's also some color matching for the ball on the top of the controller, but every mini-game is easily described just before you perform it, from holding it up to your face to dodge incoming pies, to yelling into the mic on the PlayStation Eye camera to raise the decibels and destroy a mountain. For some reason, there is a heavy monkey theme to be found (many of the games star the APE TV's staff, who are all monkeys), but it's never explained. Not that you'll be looking for much plot here.
As you play through, there's a decent amount of competition to be had, as players can try to beat high scores on different events. However, the announcer will begin to get on your nerves. Even as you fail an event completely, he'll claim that you're "one step away from victory" despite completely screwing up. But hey, positive thinking, right? Thankfully, there's an option to turn him off by lowering the sound of the voice in the options menu. Also there is no single-player option, other than the game's challenge mode.
The game is meant for families to pick up and play quickly while hopefully having fun and laughing at the on-screen antics and variety of mini-games, all while frantically passing the one controller back and forth to each other. However, because there's not a lot of games unlocked at the start, I found myself repeating mini-game events in my first few go-rounds. Once you unlock a good batch, though, you shouldn't see too many repeats, as there are a total of 50 mini-games in all. Because there are only five avatars, when playing with more than five people, you'll also end up having many folks using the same character for their profile. Again, not a huge deal, but a bit more variety would have been nice.
There's not a whole lot that can be said about this title. The main "story" can be played in about a half hour max if you have all four player slots filled, and the mini-games speed by fairly quickly. There at least is a selectable difficulty for the mini-games, which can present a challenge, but usually only in the time limit needed for task completion. There's also the aforementioned a challenge mode, where you can choose which mini-game you want to play to see if you can beat high scores and for medals and such, with a promise of DLC on the way for more mini-games, but after a few rounds, you'll feel as though you've already seen and done everything that you would want.
Lights, Camera, Party! is not a bad game. What it does, it does fairly well, and the art style looks neat. However, despite the graphics and accurate gameplay, the collection falls into the problem all mini-game collections have: repetition, which leads to boredom.
Once you've done a few mini-games, you may not be compelled to unlock the rest. This exists to be a mini-game collection, and nothing more. You know what to expect.
Lights, Camera, Party! reviewed by Ian Bonds
Slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy this game, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.
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