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Review: Lights, Camera, Party!

Posted by on September 16th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Tags: , ,

Lights, Camera, Party! fills one of the biggest gaps on the PlayStation Network: The Party Game genre. This PlayStation Move title brings 50 mini-games into your living room, providing fun for up to 8 players. I’ve been playing this game since it’s launched with a wide variety of players, from 1 to 2 to 4 to 8. Each time I play, my friends and I have a good time. Not a great time, but a good time. Let me break down the pros and cons of LCP.

First of all, the game has an amazing presentation. The opening cutscene sets up the story. A rocket ship has landed on the Funzini family’s home, effectively demolishing it. The APE TV host Gus Pacho spins the story and pretends that this disaster occurred on purpose. He promises the Funzini family a new dream home if they compete in mini-games. The graphics (Unreal Engine) and animations are fun and cartoonish. The game’s sense of humor is spot-on, which is no surprise coming from Frima Games. Some of their previous titles (including A Space Shooter for $2) show that the French company knows how to bring the funny. There’s a slightly dark sense of humor behind many of the mini-games. If you cut the wrong wire, a nuke blows up the Earth; shooting pigeons with lasers causes them to explode; and losing in survival mode means your character slips out into space. There is no follow-up animation, but we all know what happens out there.

The 50 mini-games are more similar to the microgames in the WarioWare series of games. You’re given simple directions to complete simple tasks. In Story Mode, if you’re playing with friends, you then pass the controller on and they play a different game. The player with the highest score wins a piece of the house at the end of each round. There are three multiplayer modes: Survival, Alien Egg, and Lottery. In Survival Mode, up to 8 players compete in mini-games. If you lose two mini-games, you’re sucked into space. The Alien Egg mode is a lot like Hot Potato, except after playing a mini-game, you pass the egg to someone else. The egg hatches at random, so there isn’t much strategy in passing it or keeping it. It’s fun, but it’s also a bummer when you lose the game even though you haven’t faltered on any of the mini-games. I couldn’t really tell you how Lottery works. I played it a few times, but it’s not clearly explained. It seemed like every time you win a mini-game, you get a lottery ticket, then at the end there’s a drawing and the more mini-games you’ve won, the better chance you have of winning? I stuck with Survival mode whenever I had friends over to play. It’s the most straight-forward, and the most fun.

There is a wide variety of mini-games in LCP. Most of them work well and are fast and fun. Some of them are worth taking extra notice of. The Museum Heist mini-game tasks you to adjust the pressure of a pin with the trigger button then press the Move button when the pin reaches a red hash mark. The Sleepy Monster monster mini-game requires you to look at the color of the PS Move bulb and hit the corresponding xylophone key. Then there’s a pie-dodging mini-game where you have to move Gus Pacho if his face looks like he’s in danger. Some mini-games ask you to turn the PS Move and spin it like a spit or rev it like a motorcycle accelerator. The mini-games that require you to move objects in a 3-Dimensional space didn’t quite work, I found. No matter where I stood or what lighting set up I had, I could not for the life of me complete Dr. Brainhov’s Golem. The mini-game asks you to pick up objects, rotate them, and insert them into holes. It’s a lot like Perfection, except a good deal more impossible. Of all the times playing LCP with many different people, I’ve never seen someone able to complete the mini-game. It’s a shame, because I know the PS Move is capable of carrying out such a task, there’s just something off about it as it stands in LCP. Even the whack-a-mole and frog-batting mini-games were a bit finicky. For better or for worse, these are the few games that really stood out to me.

The biggest drawback I found while playing Lights, Camera, Party! is that it’s not quite as user-friendly as it’s advertised to be. When playing with big groups, some people were able to pick up the mini-games immediately and pass them without a problem. Other people either ignored the directions or didn’t understand how they applied to the following mini-game. The directions are on-screen for only a few seconds, which makes sense in a game like this where the fast pace is supposed to add to the overall enjoyment, but there were many instances of people failing mini-games and saying, “What was I supposed to do? I don’t get it.” If it came only from those folks who never played video games before, I’d excuse it, but some of my friends who grew up gaming were lost. I personally had no problem picking up the games. Only a few of them were confusing and took a couple of plays to master. Speaking of which, there’s a Challenge Mode where you can select a specific mini-game and attempt to achieve a bronze, silver, or gold medal (each requiring a different level of skill). I poked around in this mode for a short while, but some of the gold medal challenges seem a bit ridiculous.

I really enjoy Lights, Camera, Party! I think it’s a ton of fun save for a few mini-games. Unfortunately, I ran into the same problems playing with different people. If you’re looking for a reason to use your PS Move and you have at least a few friends, I definitely suggest trying LCP. One caveat: If you’re playing with people who aren’t familiar with a zippy microgames format, be patient. Otherwise, swing, saw, zap, whack, and twirl your way to a new dream house!

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

General Info

  • Not as user-friendly as advertised
  • Depth microgames aren't too responsive