Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: TV Superstars

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            Following on from Start the Party!, the PlayStation Move’s second first-party Party game comes in the form of TV Superstars. Acting a series of mini-games tied together by the pretence that players are working their way up the celebrity ladder to become A-List stars, TV Superstars offers an entertaining evening’s play with a family contest that can continue from week-to-week.

            Working from its source material in as inspired a form as The Shoot – if not more so – TV Superstars offers the player a number of TV Shows to take part in from the off. Including cooking shows and Gladiators style presentations, the TV Shows for the most part take on one of two different forms: episodic and one-offs. The episodic shows offer increasing difficulty levels, whilst the one-offs propose a series of challenges with greater, more direct competition when playing with other players, as TV Superstars isElectronic Theatre Image of course meant to be. The TV Shows themselves provide a much wider variety of actions that Start the Party!, and from the Cooking Mama inspired Hip-Hop cooking, to the Changing Rooms-esque DIY programme, players will find themselves engaging in some bizarre activities with a varied degree of success in their gesture interpretation.

            Playing in TV Shows earns players FAME Points, which basically act as a barometer for your success. Earning greater amounts of FAME points unlocks further TV Shows and other bonuses, and is where a family has the option to continue the competition beyond just a single play. Four different ranks are available, ranging from ‘Z List’ to ‘A List’ celebrity, and progress continues between games. In addition to the celebrity scale however, is a series of commercials. Players can sign-up to the in-game acting agency, STAA, and play through the commercial setting attempting to beat the current high score. The commercials are shown in between TV Shows, and the player with the highest score on the randomly selected composite will have their filming session.

            With the TV Shows and Commercials thrown together with a Green Room as the menu system, and a TV Magazine presenting your progress, TV Superstars honours the format which is it’s inspiration in an intelligent manner that is all too rare in many videogames. The game features a cut-out aesthetic, both with its presenter Electronic Theatre Imageand the players’ created avatars featuring 3D bodies with a few frames of animation providing the facial animation. Creation is as simple as entering your name, choosing your gender, skin colour and signing the form, then taking three pictures; normal, happy and mad. The player can then customise this on-screen persona with face shape, hairstyle and other attributes, but often the default presentation makes for a much more fitting, amusingly odd avatar than trying to be realistic. For added authenticity of the overarching TV theme, the voice of X Factor and E4, Peter Dickson, acts as narrator between TV Shows, introducing each new presenter or the current standings of the players.

            With TV Superstars presenting a similar appeal to that of Start the Party!, most early adopters of the PlayStation Move controller will realistically only wish to purchase one or the other. With that in mind, TV Superstars is obviously the superior choice. While it may not makes as unique use of the PlayStation Move’s capabilities, what it does use creates a more compelling gameplay experience. TV Superstars still isn’t a game you’d want to invest a great deal of time playing on your own, but as a Party game for the holiday season, there are few better choices currently available for the PlayStation Move.

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