Although there is no intro or cut-scenes it looks like there is a tiny story or theme here. Apparently Dr. Terrible, the very image of a mad-scientist, is on the loose and intent on destroying the world so it’s up to you to thwart his plans and save the world. You do this across twenty minigames, most of which are entertaining, at least for a while.
There are four different game modes to choose from when you start the game. If you want to play solo there’s free play where you get to play the game of your choice and go for top spot on the leaderboard. There’s also survival where you have to score points as fast as you can to stop your health dropping to zero. The games change quickly in survival so you never have time to get comfortable, instead you’ll have to rely on lightning quick reflexes to last more than a couple of minutes.
Solo play is all well and good but let’s face it this game is designed for multiplayer. Up to four players can play in multiplayer, taking turns at each game. You can play short, medium or long games that have up to ten games to play. Alternatively you can go with Quick Fire which has three rounds of three randomly selected minigames to compete in. The games change often during each turn, so you need to stay on your toes and be ready for what’s coming.
One cool addition this time around is the ability for a second player to help or hinder you with the six-axis controller. This adds an interesting dimension to competitive multiplayer and it can also be used co-operatively to attack the top-scores – it’s up to you how you use it.
Overboard – sailors are walking the plank and your job is to catch them before they land in shark-infested waters. The six windows you can catch sailors from can close without warning and sharks can jump and catch the sailors mid-air so you need to be quick.
Speedy Shootout – you’re driving along in a car when helicopters start dropping bombs on you. Shoot them down before they take you out.
Fire Fight – Firebugs are attacking the cavemen – draw a flaming line through them as fast as possible to destroy the bugs and save the cavemen. Watch out for the water bug who puts out your flame.
Rocket Repair – In the depths of space some rockets require assembly – put them together as fast as you can.
Deep Sea Peril – Dr. Terrible has polluted the ocean and the fish are mutating. Save the fish by grabbing them and chucking them into the boat before they mutate. Mutate fish will obstruct your efforts to save healthy fish.
Robo Blast – from the chest of a robot you have to shoot down UFO’s attacking civilians. Holding down the trigger turns your gun into a laser and helps you dispense earth justice in style.
Robo Repair – Dr. Terrible has sabotaged another production line. These robots need to be scrubbed clean, had their fire put out or take a whack to the head to be back in working order.
Gone Fishin’ – evil jellyfish have trapped divers at the bottom of the ocean. Use your magnetic fishing rod to grab the divers and get them back to the boat. Just be careful of those electrified jellyfish!
Tentacle Trouble – now an octopus is harassing out hapless divers. Grab the divers right out of that octopus’s tentacles and get them to safety. You’ll need to watch out for jellyfish again.
Space Shootout – UFO’s are attacking Earth – shoot them down before they do irreparable damage to our beloved planet.
Bear Bash – Crazed bears working for Dr. Terrible are attacking a train. Use your mallet to smack those bears into next week before they break into the train.
Caveman Bounce – pterodactyls are dropping cavemen to their doom from up high. Draw a line of clouds under the falling cavemen, bouncing them back into their caves.
Astro Bounce – astronauts are under attack from fiery meteors. Draw a line between the astronauts and meteors to bounce those meteors away and keep the astronauts safe.
As you can see all twenty of the games are simple enough for anyone to pick up and play. None of the games last more than a couple of minutes which is a relief in the shooting and whacking games – my trigger finger is out of shape and appreciated the break – and also means the wait for your turn in group play is manageable.
The only other gripe I have is that they’ve taken away individual difficulty settings. In the first game you could give each player their own difficulty and this was a very effective way to handicap multiplayer games. By taking this option away multiplayer games, especially between adults and kids (who are surely a large part of the target market) are going to be one-sided unless the adults get hit by a severe bout of short-term unco-ordination. Disappointing.
The visuals have received an overhaul since the first game and they will appeal to the younger crowd. Crazy bears, robots on fire, evil electrified jellyfish and Dr. Terrible himself all have a distinct cartoony look that kids will immediately relate to. Despite some games making you shoot down helicopters and UFO’s, or helicopters dropping bombs and a Godzilla-style monster munching on people none of the visuals are in any way graphic making it safe viewing for kids of all ages.
Like the visuals the music has a cartoony feel to it and you get the feeling it wouldn’t be out of place on any early morning cartoon. It’s light-hearted for the most part, but on occasions it’s more ominous, like when Dr. Terrible comes on screen. The music keeps you from dwelling on what you're doing, with the odd quirky sound-effect thrown in to ensure the mood stays light-hearted. The announcer is much better this time around and he offers clear and concise instructions before each game starts. There’s no in-game commentary but at the end he’s very encouraging regardless of how you performed.
Overall Start the Party! Save the World is a polished set of minigames, all of which are entertaining... for a while at least. And that’s the asterisk that accompanies so many mingame compilations; how long will the game entertain you? I’d completed most of what was on offer here in just over two hours, and while I had a good time playing I don’t see myself coming back much in future. Kids are sure to get more play time out of it and it’s a game that kids and parents could happily play together, but even so you have to ask yourself if it’s worth $50 for such short-lived fun
Review By: Mike Allison