Young Edmund is a prince in training, dreaming of the day heíll become a knight. He has a long way to go Ė he hasnít even graduated from his wooden training sword to a real sword yet. Medieval Moves begins with Edmund undergoing his final tests before heíll be allowed a real sword. Disaster strikes just as he completes his training, when the evil sorcerer Morgrimm turns up, steals an important gateway jewel and then transforms everyone in town, Edmund included, into a skeleton (Edmund is jokingly referred to as Deadmund thereafter). Itís up to Deadmund, aided by the ghost of a former king residing in a amulet of Deadmundís, to recover the gateway jewel and hopefully reverse the sorcery that has turned everyone into skeletons.
Initially I was disappointed that Medieval Moves is on rails, but it wonít take long for you to see why itís been done. Between swinging your sword, shooting arrows and grappling hooks as well as defending yourself with a shield youíre running out of hands to guide yourself around the game world. The controls are straightforward and intuitive for the most part (dynamite excepted). To swing your sword you simply swing the Move controller at whatever you want to hit. You have to swing firmly to deal much damage to your skeletal opponents but the basic motion is simple.
The bow and arrow is very handy for long-range attacks because it can be aimed, unlike the throwing stars. To shoot it you lift the Move controller over your shoulder as if you were grabbing an arrow from your quiver, hold down the trigger, target and release. The action can be tiring if you use it heavily, but itís quite intuitive to pick up. The grappling hook gets you over gaps or large obstacles and to use it you point the Move at the ground and pull the trigger, then itís just a matter of targeting where you want to go (there will be an icon on-screen) and release the trigger.
The shield is your best and only defense and if you want to block an attack you hold the Move button and point the controller in the direction of the incoming attack. Enemies can attack you high or low and from left or right so you need to block accordingly or else youíll take a hit. After you block and attack the enemy is exposed to a counter-attack, so a block-counter approach will serve you well.
Another objective in the game is to retrieve fragments of a amulet that Morgrimm stole and subsequently smashed into little pieces at the start of the game. You earn amulet fragments by beating bosses at the end of some levels. Amulet fragments contain latent powers which you can use once youíve charged them up with energy defeated enemies drop. Some powers include projectile weapons passing through enemies, projectile weapons exploding when they land and melee weapons stealing the life of your enemies. Powers last a short time so itís important to use them at the right moment.
As Deadmund makes his way through each level he will occasionally stop at Ďloot pointsí. Here youíre given a short amount of time to shoot all of the targets to earn bonus loot. The time limits are tough so youíll need to channel your inner Robin Hood if you want to score maximum loot.
Progress through each level is not always linear as youíll come to crossroads every now and then that let you choose your own direction. Although the variations are minor they do lend themselves to replay so you can check out what you missed the first time through. Some levels also have quick time events where you must swing the controller in the direction youíre prompted onscreen lest you take damage. There are a few puzzles in the game too, but these are usually no tougher than rotating a switch as far as it will go, which is probably fair enough given the younger target audience.
There are a few different multiplayer options here, broken up into team and versus battles that can be played either locally or online. The first game is Invasion, where you must survive as long as you can while enemies attack from all sides. Invasion can be played either with or against a friend Ė if you play with a friend you can revive your fallen friend with an amulet power up.
Overall I donít have too many complaints with Medieval Moves. Generally speaking each level is intelligently designed with just enough variety to keep you from getting bored. I would say that some levels, particularly near the end of the game, are too long. Although waving the Move isnít the most physically demanding task it does become tiring after a while. Having a level that goes for over forty-five minutes seems like a bit of overkill and probably should have been split in half.
Another minor quibble is that loot barrels can be surprisingly tough to break open. Aiming on the fly is out of the question because you have to fight the camera too much, while at other times you lose control of Deadmund and canít have a crack at the barrels no matter how hard you try. The final complaint is that bosses toward the end of the game can be repetitive, asking you to do the same sequence over and over. In a couple of these fights the controls arenít quite as responsive (because you must fight the camera to aim) or accurate (youíll accidentally draw throwing stars instead of arrows) as you need, and that sentences you to further repetition.
The music is generally cheerful, and even in the darker moments it doesnít get too grim. The voice-acting is definitely aimed at younger kids and is very simple, straightforward and above all encouraging. Archer enemies who like to hide behind barrels will say Ďpeek-a-booí when they come out from cover, giving everyone a fair chance to pick them off before taking damage.
Overall Medieval Moves is one of the most fun Move games on the market, and that goes for people of (almost) all ages. Some of the controls will be tough for the youngest players to come to grips with but most people will pick them up easily enough. Although the game is targeted at younger kids older players can have fun with it too. Things can get a little repetitive, especially later on in the game, and occasionally the controls and camera let you down. Those minor gripes aside though, Medieval Moves is an enjoyable game that should finally get the Move back into your PS3.
Review By: Mike Allison