It’s unfortunate that the Playstation Move has seen so little support when compared to the Kinect, though it at least that can be considered as a positive as it has not become the victim of as much shovelware as expected. Still, the Playstation Move was victim of the usual suspects that come with motion controls. As a result “party” games on the console aren’t a surprise, and Frima Studio’s Lights, Camera, Party! is the latest. While not a new and innovative take on the genre, a unique look combined with enjoyable gameplay makes for a fun, if short experience.
As is common with the genre, any narrative is merely a framing device for the mini-games and not the focus itself. Here the story starts with game show host, Gus Pacho, launching a satellite that destroys the house of the Funzini family. From here you play as any of the family members as they compete in a game show to get a new house decorated in their own style. Almost non-existent, it’s the story that shows off the most interesting aspect of Lights, Camera, Party!: the visuals.
The visual aspects of the game are its most unique aspect, as they are of a very high-quality cartoonish style that is also comedically ugly. They remind of a CGI version of Wallace & Gromit, where the animation is stylistic, with the beauty of the animation highlighted by what could be perceived as an uglyness in the design of characters. It makes for a game that’s fun to look at. Sadly, this emphasizes a big problem. This would do better as something to just look at than to play, as this care given to the visuals does not apply to the other elements of the game.
Sounds for example, though not bad, are not particularly great either. Nothing really stands out in terms of music, as it all melds with the background, and while it won’t be anything distracting, it’s not going to elicit any enjoyment either. What will be distracting, however, is the host Gus Pacho. He will joke and quip here and there while narrating the events, but very quickly the lack of recorded dialog will begin to be glaringly obvious as he cycles through the same lines over and over again. Worst is when he encourages you on with claims of being close to victory, even if it’s painfully obvious that not only are you losing, but losing very badly. Perhaps this could be taken with a humorous grain of salt, as if it were meant as a joke, but the sparse dialog that Gus Pacho cycles through ruins that possible illusion.
The games themselves are very surprising, not because of their quality, but their briefness. It will quickly be noticed that this is not a regular compilation of mini-games. Instead they’re microgames, more like WarioWare than Mario Party. This will beg the question as to why there’s so few of them. While 50 isn’t a small number when it comes to minigames, once you enter the field of microgames, 50 is no longer an impressive number. When you can blaze through games in a matter of seconds, 50 games will go by in less than ten minutes. This is further worsened by the fact that a lot of these games have to be unlocked, leading through playthroughs, whether it be by yourself or with friends, that will consists of going through the same games.
This unsurprisingly leads to repetition and stagnation, which is a major downfall for any party game. This is at least helped by a surprising full use of the Playstation Move. While the games can be enjoyable, and most don’t go beyond the typical use of motion controls, there are a few exceptions that take advantage of the many options the Move provides. In one, the camera microphone has to be yelled at, in another the color-changing ball on the controller must be matched with colors on the screen. Unfortunately, these unique games are but a few in the collection.
Lights, Camera, Party! is an enjoyable game with a very original and enjoyable visual style, but like most party games, it falls to the traps of repetition that have become the standard of the genre and quickly becomes dull. It may be a fun time to kill 30 minutes, and certainly is nowhere near the worst offenders, but beyond its visual style it will not stand out from the crowd. It will be an enjoyable experience for fans of the genre or those who want to have some clean fun time with their families, but a lack of content availability from the beginning, and in general, will limit how much play can be gotten out of this game.