As sure as night follows day, Sony was bound to announce a party game for its new PlayStation Move controller. Move Party is that title, and it consists of a series of minigames that can be played by up to four players. They're the sort of games that you'd expect to see in an EyeToy title, but when you're playing with the PlayStation Move, the controls feel much more accurate than with the camera alone.
We competed with three fellow journalists during our play-through of Move Party. At the beginning of the game, the players moved close to the PlayStation Eye camera so the game could take their mugshots, and then spoke their names into the camera's built-in microphone. At the beginning of each player's turn, both the photo and the voice clip are then played, indicating that the player should grab the controller. The faces are also displayed on a podium at the end of each round, tracking each player's overall position.
In the first game we played, we were dropped underwater as a procession of blowfish rose up the screen, and it was our job to wield the Move controller and burst the colored blowfish. You really have to lunge the controller to make the necessary pop, while obstacles such as underwater mines have to be avoided because they clear the entire screen. This particular game was fun but was definitely tricky--we'd often have to repeat jabs in order for the blowfish to burst.
The second game turned the Move controller into a fly-swatting device, which we used to catch bugs as they flew and crawled across the screen. Some bugs would arrive in swarms, making them easy to take out en mass, while others would actively avoid our swings. It was clear from our play that you have to hold the remote precisely; if the racket is at a 90-degree angle, it certainly does more damage.
The third game was even trickier, because we had to guide little chicks into baskets by using the Move-powered fan. The chicks fell down from the top of the screen, while the baskets appeared at different heights to the left and right. Each basket holds only three chicks, so once it's full, you have to juggle the other chicks in the air while waiting for another one to appear. If the chicks hit the fan, then they'll be chewed up, although since Move Party is a family game, they fly haplessly toward the screen instead of dissolving into a shower of feathers.
Our time with Move Party ended with a haircutting exercise in which we had to shave and sometimes color certain sections of a young boy's hair. You have to make different shapes with the hair, usually in a variation of a mohawk, getting as close a cut as possible to the hairline. When color is required, you have to drag the Move controller over the patches indicated onscreen, avoiding the other patches of hair.
There was a final game that we saw during Sony's press conference, but we didn't get to play it for ourselves. We watched as a woman demoed a coloring game--various shapes would appear onscreen, and she had to fill them in as accurately as possible. The challenge was to color the object against the clock without going outside the lines. It may have been the challenge of doing this in front of an audience, but the woman certainly struggled at times and was duly criticized by the game for her shoddy artwork.
A release date for Move Party wasn't announced at the press conference, but we expect it to be released alongside the controller in the third quarter. Expect more information in the coming months, and stay tuned for further impressions on GameSpot.com.