As a father of three children, I think it’s safe to say that party games have been a pretty prominent staple of gaming around my house over the years. We’ve played the pretty good (Mario Party series) and we’ve also played the really bad (majority of Wii shovel ware party games), but we have never really experienced anything in-between among the plethora of party games that made us scratch our heads trying to decide on if a game is good or not…until now. I mean, with these types of games you usually know immediately if it’s going to be good or not, but this recently reviewed title took a little longer before coming to a conclusion. With the recent release of Lights, Camera, Party! on PSN, Frima Studio aims to bring a type of party gaming to the table with a story mode, five playable characters, three party modes, challenges, and 50 fast and frenetic mini-games.
Taking full and complete advantage of the PlayStation Move controller, Lights, Camera, Party! gets the party started by using a fun pass-and-play method that is a little different than each player using separate controllers. Not only can this pass-and-play style facilitate up to eight players, but it also means that you PS3 owners out there won’t have to invest in multiple controllers to make the party happen, opening the game up to a wider audience. Even though you won’t need the extra controller, the cost of the controller is offset by the $30 price point the game is going for. I felt that this was a little higher in cost than what I’m usually accustomed to paying for when it come to the average collection of mini-games, but the game is still possibly worth a gamble if party games are your style and you just can’t live without them.
The story of the game (what there is of it) revolves around the five Funzini family members and their attempts at winning the home of their dreams via the Lights, Camera, Party! game show. Depending on which character each player decides to use has no real bearing on the games or the story itself, so it really doesn’t matter who you choose. All choosing a character does is whichever player wins the round gets a portion of the dream house built in their character’s fashion. The whole process of competing for portions of and completing the final look of the house only takes about 30 minutes or so to complete. With no script and repetitive paltry humor, you will find that your time would have been better spent elsewhere than the story mode.
The fairly short length of the story mode means that you’ll more-than-likely encounter the same mini-games more than once during just one play through. With only ten or so mini-games unlocked at the start of the game, you’ll soon tire of seeing the same game over and over. If you want to unlock more of the games, you’ll need to revisit the story mode a few times over with all of the characters to do so. And calling these mini-games is a little bit of a stretch; they’re more like blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-games! Lasting no more than five to ten seconds each, even on the highest level of difficulty, I felt this was where the game really suffered. If you took all 50 games at ten seconds each and added them up, you’d have a little more than 8 minutes worth of game play total. 8 FREAKING MINUTES!!! That right there is the reason I’d seriously have trouble paying the full $30 for Lights, Camera, Party! But then again, my guess is that you’re not here to play just the story mode.
As in all party games past present and future, party mode is where you’ll spend the majority of time when it comes to partying with some friends. Lights, Camera, Party! actually offers three party modes in the game, all of which can be a balance of a little luck with a little bit of skill thrown in, meaning any player from the party video game pro to the amateur can win at any time in any given round. The games remain one player at a time, which eliminates some of the friendly competition in these types of games, but it also helps to alleviate the frustration of guests that have never played the game before and the party host who has already played the game a thousand times.
All in all, the mini-games that are here are pretty fun and unique, if not a little short for my liking. While a few mini-games spark some interest by watching colors on screen and reacting to the PlayStation Move orb changing to match each color, the rest are nothing more than a quick gesture with the Move—things like holding the controller like a motorcycle accelerator or moving it back and forth in a sawing motion to saw a moon in half. They’re awful cute and my kids loved them, but there’s no real meat to them to keep my interest for very long. After only a couple times playing them, the games and characters even lost their appeal with the kids.
Overall, Lights, Camera, Party! rises above all of the other shovel ware titles out there, but it’s still a reach to say that I enjoyed myself outside of the first couple times of playing each mini-game. It is a fun way to get PS3 owners to get their Move controllers out of the closet and all, but there just wasn’t enough here to keep me and the kids interested outside of a few rounds of fast moving mini-games. With cute, cartoony graphics, likeable characters and fun pick-up-and-play mini-games, Lights, Camera, Party! had the right idea with this concept, but this game show just doesn’t deliver in the end for the price.
A review code for the Lights, Party, Camera! for PSN on PS3 was provided to us for this review by Frima Studio Inc.