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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Hardware

 

Publisher

Sony

 

Developer

Sony

 

ESRB

N/A

 

Released

Q4 2003

 

 

- Lotís of fun mini-games

- You get to be the star

- Something for nearly everyone

 

 

- Image can be blurry

- Games like any real depth

- Many of the games are variations on a theme

 

 

Review: EyeToy Groove (PS2)

Review: EyeToy (PS2)

 

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EyeToy

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

Sonyís Eye Toy is little more than a standard, low-quality web cam that connects to the PS2 and allows players to put a poorly focused version of themselves into a series of shallow mini-games that are only a few steps up in game-play from a Tiger Electronics handheld.  There is absolutely no reason why this product should be entertaining, much less insanely addictiveóbut, goodness is it ever.  Since the package containing it arrived on my doorstep until the time I write this review ninety-six hours have moved into the past.  For nearly thirty of those hours, the Eye Toy has been in constant use.  The games and the technology behind them are as simple as can be, but the entire package together is a stunning bit of fun.  

 

eyetoy

 

The Eye Toy is a small, USB web cam that looks like a miniature PS2.  I was surprised when I got it out of the box because I was expecting something more festive looking.  Hooking up the device is as easy as plugging in a controller (which you wonít need in any way for the included games, by the way).  Once the Play disk is loaded up, players have the option to record visual profiles that contain snapshots of themselves looking happy, sad, and goofy.  These photos are used during the games to reflect how the player is doing.  Additionally, when players achieve high scores, the device records a snapshot to accompany the score.   It is a neat feature, but each profile uses a good deal of space on a memory card.  The quality of the digitized image varies according to the amount of lighting in the room, but it never rises above the level of slightly blurry.  It is, however, always possible to tell who is playing the game and what kind of expression they are making.  If you have any experience with VGA quality web cameras, then you know what to expect.

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The Eye Toy comes with a disc of twelve mini-games called Play.  Graphically, things are colorful and sharply drawn.  All of the gamesí graphics are 2D and drawn in an anime style that reminds me a little of the Jet Grind Radio games.  Overall, the games are very attractive. The games are familiar bits of digital candy.  Games on Play include a football (soccer) game, a couple of Bemani-inspired rhythm games, a few of variants on whack-a-mole, a simplistic boxing game, a couple of variations on 

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plate-spinning games, a ghost catching game, and a fireworks game.  None of the games are particularly deep, but none are real duds either.  Even better, a couple of the games are real standouts.  Though the technology of the gadget isnít that impressive, the collision detection and accuracy of the game engines is awesome.  In good lighting, a player can count on the game knowing where his or her body parts are at all times.  Poor lighting can really affect the tracking of movement however.

 

A breakdown of the twelve games follows:

 

Beat Freak:  This is a rhythm game that requires the player to hit one of four speakers in rhythm to a musical track.  This is accomplished by timing the hitting of the speakers to coincide with the passing of little CDs that emerge from the center of the screen and cross over the speakers.

 

Kung Foo:  One of my favorites, this game is basically Whack-a-Mole on acid (though come to think of Whack-a-Mole is already pretty weird).  Players attempt to hit little ninjas and other villains as they appear on the edges of the screen and attempt to reach the player.  Three hits from the ninjas end the game.

 

Wishi Washi:  One of the weirdest games of the bunch, Wishi Washi has players cleaning soap bubbles off the television screen.  It isnít a lot of fun, but it sure is neat looking.  Players compete to clean as many windows as they can in two minutes.

 

Soccer Craze: This is another one I really enjoyed.  Players use their heads, elbows and knees to keep a soccer ball afloat for as long as possible.  Arkanoid like power-ups, in the form of spectators, give the game lots of variety.

 

Boxing Chump:  This is simple boxing game which basically boils down to hitting the boxing robot either high or low, whichever it is not protecting at the time.  Not good game, but a pretty good workout.

 

UFO Juggler:  One of two variations on plate-spinning themes.  In this one players try to spin UFOs into orbit.

 

Slap Stream:  This is another Whack-a-mole variation.  This time players must hit the ratmen that pop up from four clouds in the sky but must avoid hitting the cute chicks in bunny costumes that also pop up.

 

Plate Spinner:  Players must keep the plates spinning, but I bet you already knew that.

 

Disco Stars:  Another rhythm game, but this one is mixed with the old Simon electronic game.  A dancer goes through a series of moves then the player must mimic those moves in an identical time frame.  This is actually quite funókind of a DDR for the hands.

 

Ghost Eliminator:  Players find ethereal ghost on the screen and then wave their hands in front of them until they explode.  Really.

 

Mirror Time:  Mirror Time is one of the most frustrating game experiences Iíve had in a while.  Luckily, this is on purpose.  In the game, players must touch the corners of the screen that light up green while avoiding the corners that light up red.  The catch is that the image continually inverts and reverses, so it is difficult to tell what is up, down, left, or right from your current perspective.  Very difficult and addictive.

 

Rocket Rumble:  The best is saved for last.  Rocket Rumble is kind of Fantavision-lite.  Players try to link similarly colored fireworks together and then detonate them, or, better yet, players try to link multi-color chains of fireworks using white fireworks between each set of color.  Iíve played this one over and over since I received the Eye Toy in an attempt to get higher and higher scores.  It is highly addictive.

 

On top of the games, the Eye Toy also features a video message option which will save a short video clip to a memory card that you can then give to another PS2 owner with an Eye Toy to watch.

 

For my money, the Eye Toy is one of the best videogame accessories ever designed.  It really seems like a bargain considering it costs exactly as much as other new PS2 game that donít come with a neat gadget.

 

- Tolen Dante

(November 23, 2003)

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