PlayStation Move Heroes from one time Starcraft Ghost developer Nihilistic isn’t a multiplayer brawler or an action platformer. It almost feels like a series of mini-games arranged as levels.
The first stage I tried showcased a bowling mini-game. Similar to Wii Sports, I drew the PlayStation Move controller back, held the trigger button, and swung the controller with an upward arc to toss the ball. You can still guide the ball after you let "go" by moving the wand. The level I played was designed like a pinball machine with bumpers, ramps to roll on, and most importantly targets to hit. There was a limited amount of time for Jak to crash into them with his bowling ball.
I played a combat stage next, which starred Ratchet and his wrench. The goal was to find these octopus-like alien creatures and bring them back to a goal before time runs out. Robots showed up to stop Ratchet, but I destroyed them by swinging the Move controller around. PlayStation Move Heroes has a simple combo system where shaking left, right, and then left, makes Ratchet dish out a few extra hits. In the demo you couldn’t do diagonal hits, they would either come out as a vertical clonk on the head or horizontal hit. The navigation controller’s analog stick is used to move Ratchet around. An interesting fact about this mode, as explained by a Sony rep, is this mode didn’t always have a combo system. Originally, it was just based on a player’s movements, but combos were added in after some of the development team felt it took too many hits to defeat the robots.
Medals are key element in PlayStation Move Heroes. Just like the Olympics, there are three kinds bronze, silver, and gold. Earning a bronze medal usually doesn’t require completing all of the goals. So, you can skirt by a level by finding three octopus aliens instead of all ten.
I tried a shooting stage next, which put Clank in the middle of a heated robot battle. I had to rescue more octopus creatures while robots fell from the sky. Controls were simple enough, move with the analog stick, hit L1 to strafe, point to target, and trigger to shoot. Not terribly different from an off-rails light gun game.
A whip game was up next, but I think what I played was a portion of a tutorial level. The same Sony rep explained the demo used levels from the actual game. Electric fences blocked Sly from walking close to crates, but the plasma whip passed right through them. Swinging the controller made Sly whip, but he has a few other moves too. You can grab an object by holding the trigger down. When an object is in hand you can use it as a weapon and swing it into an enemy. Yes, its possible to grab enemy robots and swing them into each other. There’s also a super whip attack, which you need to charge up for by holding the wand in the air. After a meter fills up you can hit a group of enemies with a plasma blast.
Frisbee or "disc" was the final game. This stage had Bentley from the Sly Cooper series throwing a spiked disc. Once in the air, I needed to guide it hit targets with the Move wand. Some targets move, but most of them are stationary. It’s possible, said the Sony rep, to hit all of the targets with a single disc. I didn’t come close, three at the same time was my best.
After playing all five games, I asked if there were other styles of play and the rep answered with a vague, "this is all we’re showing today." PlayStation Move Heroes will be released in North America “soon.” In Japan, Sony has the game set for a March.