The story, told through an opening cut-scene, goes like this. All six of our heroes are enjoying a normal day saving the world on their own planet. Next thing they know time stops and they are pulled through a portal to a strange place that 'doesn't match any star-charts' Clank has ever seen. Not long later a couple of distinctly alien-looking creatures, Gleeber and Lunk, show up and tell our heroes that they are going to participate in the 1st Annual Inter-Universal Games to find ‘the greatest hero of them all'. Never shy of competition Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank and Sly and Bentley are each confident of success as they head to the first mini-game.
There are five different mini-games in Move Heroes; Guardian, Survival, Rescue, Countdown and Jail Break. The primary objective in each of the games is to free or protect Whibbles; cute little alien creatures who wouldn't hurt a fly. In Guardian there are three whibbles in pods, high above the ground. Enemies, which take the form of robots, exploding bowling pins, giant boars with guns and more, attack these pods, bringing them ever closer to the ground. Standing near a pod will slowly raise it back up, so your task is to keep all three whibble cages off the ground for the duration of the level.
Speaking of weapons, there are five different weapon types for you to use in the game. There is a whip, a melee weapon (Ratchet gets his omni-wrench, Jak his hammer and Sly his cane), different guns, a bowling ball and a flying disc. The game mixes and matches weapons and games, so you don't always have the same weapon in each of the mini-games. For example you might play a Guardian level with a gun, and then on the next Guardian level you'll have to make do with a melee weapon. In this way the five mini-games are varied enough to keep you interested throughout the games fifty-ish levels.
At various times you'll have three different guns at your disposal, one that shoots exploding balls, a Combustor machine gun and the inexpertly named Morph gun (a shot-gun) that doesn't morph anything. Whichever gun you are using the controls are the same. You aim the gun by pointing at a target and the camera will always align behind your target. You run around with the Navigation (or left analog) controller and shoot with the trigger. The controls on these levels are both intuitive and effective, and you should have no problems with the camera.
The last two weapons – the bowling ball and flying disc – handle in much the same way. To launch the bowling ball you hold down the trigger and swing as if you're bowling a real ball, releasing the trigger to send the ball away. The flying disc is the same except that you swing sideways instead of up and down. When the bowling ball and disc are under way you steer them by pointing or twisting the Move controller. Both ball and disc respond well to your commands, and like the gun levels, the controls here are both intuitive and effective.
Move Heroes can be a bit of fun, but it definitely has its fair share of issues. The biggest complaint I have with the game is the complete lack of competitive play. Both the story and the game-type (i.e. mini-game compilation) seem perfectly suited to pitting friends against each other. Whether the game required you to have two Move controllers, or allowed you to take turns using just the one controller, this would have made the game a lot more fun and added a lot of longevity to it. Without some sort of competitive play you've got significantly less reason to come back.
Secondly, the controls in the melee and whip levels are a bit more complicated and less responsive than the other levels. Sometimes I had to swing the whip quite vigorously to get it to whip, while at other times delicate movements would get it to work. If you play long enough your arm is bound to get sore from it. Also, the slightly more complex controls, forcing you to use L2 to keep the camera centered are going to be challenging for the younger audience who I assume is targeted by the game. This is made worse by the fact that you need to complete a certain number of levels before more will unlock, so it's possible that younger players will get stuck unless they can master the controls.
The graphics are probably the strongest part of Move Heroes. While they're not quite up to the likes of Ratchet and Clank on the PS3 (Jak and Sly aren't on the PS3 yet, so there's no comparison to make there), they're only a rung or so below. The games take place on four different worlds including the home planet of each of our heroes – Metropolis for Ratchet, Haven City for Jak and Paris for Sly. The fourth world is Gleeber and Lunk's home planet of Gleebertopia. Each of these worlds has their own distinct look, which keeps things interesting visually. There is also no shortage of enemies and destructible objects like boxes, crystals, barrels and explosives to destroy. Most of the characters and enemies look good (I wasn't a fan of the whibbles) and move well too. It's bright and colourful, and while the some textures look a bit bland, you likely won't have time to notice those.
Overall Playstation Move Heroes is a game that is fun in small doses, but doesn't have the staying power to keep you interested beyond the end of the game, if that far. The lack of competitive modes is quite galling given the story and mini-game structure seems to set it up perfectly. On the plus side the controls work well for the most part, and the bowling and flying disc levels are great fun. In the end it's not the killer app the Move has been searching for, but it does have its moments. If you're looking for a Move-centric game to play, this is the best out there. Unfortunately that's not saying a whole lot.
Review By: Mike Allison