|Developer: London Studios
Release Date: Out Now
It's always nice to see new games peripherals, but as we all know most of them are either space-wasters that you hardly ever use, or turn out to be so clumsy that you hunt for the receipt and return them. When I first saw the Eye Toy demonstrated I immediately thought: coo, that looks fun but I'll bet it's a short-lived gimmick…
Eye Toy: Play is a PS2-styled USB camera that comes with a collection of 12 games. The camera displays a picture of the player on-screen and via software considerably more accurate than the US military's allows you to interact in various ways with onscreen objects. The games are all fairly simplistic, but a few have hidden depths that you only notice after prolonged play.
When you start you're immediately given the option of an excellent animated manual (setting the EyeToy up is a doddle), and then the option of playing alone or with up to 3 mates. You can either make your own profile; this involves entering your initials and taking 3 photos (happy face, sad, and silly) or playing without a profile and choosing the likeness of one of the in-game characters. Play with your own profile and it shows you picture when it's your go (good idea during multiplayer games) and shows your expression depending on whether you're happy (winning) or sad (losing, duh). It's a neat feature that personalises the game like few others.
Beat Freak - Hit the speakers as the CDs pass over them. Keep catching them perfectly to get a combo going - sounds simple doesn't it? Tunes to play along with include the original 'Boogie Nights' by Heatwave or 'Sing it back' by Moloko.
Kung Foo - end off the attacking hordes that increase in number and speed. A cool board-breaking bonus round game breaks up the increasingly frantic action.
Wishi Washi - Clean windows as quickly as possible, and don't miss the corners - you need to clean 95% to get a new window. Rub the bird poo and water droplets that fall down the screen hard to get a bonus - but watch out for the soapy sponge that messes up the window all over again.
Keep Ups - Keep the footie ball in the air with your head, shoulders, hands or anything else you can think of. Hit the spectators in the windows for bonuses but don't hit the old bloke that sounds like Burt Kwouk. Tag spikey-haired Dex with your hand and he'll come down and help you keep the ball up for a while.
Boxing Chump - Stand sideways-on and fight against Big Robo Bro (a big robot). Use a combination of high and low punches to do the most damage. Are you good enough to knock him out, or will you have to go three rounds and win on points…?
UFO Juggler - Flying saucers of various sizes are released from the two hatches at the bottom of the screen. Spin them at just the right speed to make them climb off the top of the screen and score the most points - let them stop spinning and they'll drop and crash, spin them too fast and they'll wobble and blow up. Rub Wonton's boss ship to make it crash or it'll zap your UFOs and stop them spinning.
Slapstream - There's a cloud in each corner of the screen and either your friends (QT and Yumi) or the evil Ratmen pop out of them. Punch the Ratmen off the clouds as quickly as possible to score as many points as you can in the time limit. Punch the girlies by mistake and there'll be a frightening flash of lightning and you'll lose one of your three lives…
Plate Spinner - Keep the four plates spinning at the right speed to score. The Ba-boons (evil monkeys) will sneak out of the jungle scenery to and try to sabotage your crockery or just put you off. If they drop on a plate that's spinning perfectly it'll shoot them off and score you loads of points. Smash three plates and it's game over.
Boogie Down - It's a dancing game without the need for a dance mat. Memorise the sequence of red lights that QT shows you and repeat it in time to the music, the better your timing the more you score. There's a choice of three tunes to play along to.
Ghost Catcher - You're in a spooky graveyard and have to wave your hands over the difficult-to-see ghosts to inflate and pop them. Let three ghosties escape off the top of the screen and you lose. Oh, and there's bats too.
Mirror Time - Kieu is trapped in a magic mirror, along with Little Robo Bro. Touch the green reflections and NOT the red ones - easy. That is until Big Robo Bro starts pulling a lever and flipping the screen horizontally, vertically, splitting it in half and even in 4, and combinations of the above. A REAL brain teaser.
Rocket Rumble - Activate the rockets once they've passed the horizon and then detonate them with the plungers at the bottom corners of the screen. You can only detonate rockets of the same colour unless a white 'bridge' rocket appears. Combinations are all important, and score much more heavily than simply exploding all the rockets individually.
Video Messaging - If you've ever wanted to record and send a video message to your mates via PS2 (onto a memory card) then this is for you. Leave a private message for a loved one or something similar… Just follow the on screen instructions to record and save the message (from 10 seconds to 1 minute in duration). When Eye Toy loads it'll let you know if there's a new message to view.
Play Rooms - Not games as such, but interactive effects. Choose from; Snow, Spiders, Copy Cat, Nervous, Mirrors, Rainbow, Underwater, Bubbles, Leaves, Balloons, Bees, Materialise, Sparkles… or 'No Effect' (presumably for people who like watching themselves on TV).
Had we rushed a review of Eye Toy out while still under the euphoric spell of its initial charms we'd have given it a 10 without hesitation, having played it for several days now, we're still inclined to give it a 10 - we've tried to make a justifiable reason for knocking the score down, but we can't. You can criticise the graphics for being less than cutting-edge 3D, or the games for being a bit samey and simple. But visually the game does everything it needs to (with some lovely graphical flourishes here and there), and the games (some good, some not so good) have surprising variety and require amazingly disparate skills. The accuracy of the collision detection is simply unbelievable, and makes a game in which you don't actually touch anything almost ummm..tactile? in nature. The three difficulty settings ease the beginner in and look like they'll provide a lasting challenge for an expert. If you don't like this brilliant game then you're probably a graphics tart, a couch potato or just one of those who's insecure about standing in front of your TV and looking like a pillock. If you own a PS2 and don't buy this then it's your loss.
- Brilliant interface with a selection of clever games.
- It's videogame that gets you off your arse and moving.
-Top multiplayer party game fun.
- Eye Toy even appeals to people who don't normally like games.
- There will be more games that use the Eye Toy.
- Menus and selections could have been better designed.
- Did we really need the cutesy characters?