Of all the theoretical lovelies physicists have conceived, wormholes are the most fascinating. In addition to serving as a short-cut through space time (which permits time travel, of course), their equations can be solved in such a way that permits movement from one universe to a parallel one. PlayStation Move Heroes has put this scientific trickery to good use, throwing six of Sony's most prestigious heroes into the same game world. Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, and Sly Cooper and Bentley have all been plucked from their respective universes and forced to compete in an intergalactic series of challenges to determine who is the best hero of all time - a pointless task, quite frankly, because everybody already knows it's Sly.
Not that this matters, as it's all a ruse anyway. The alien beings that have summoned our heroes to this conglomerate universe are - unsurprisingly - evil, and plan to use our sextuplet of stars for nefarious deeds. Quite how or why makes little sense in the context of the competition, but the cutscenes separating each batch of challenges from the next are welcome nonetheless. It's certainly a throwaway yarn, but watching Ratchet squabble with Jak, Clank exchange calculations with Bentley and Sly out-cool the lot of them is entertaining enough for fans of the games.
Ratchet and Clank's Metropolis plays host to the first round of challenges, where success is measured in bronze, silver and gold medals. Earn a hunk of shiny metal in each activity and you'll unlock Haven City, followed by Paris and Gleebertopia, each with their own challenges to complete. Despite the subtle changes this offers in terms of scenery, the same five challenges are relied on for the entirety of the game and they grate quicker than a fat slab of cheese.
Three of the five challenges revolve around helping the Whibbles; cute extra-terrestrial globules that have been captured and used as bait in the competition. Rescuing them from cages, guarding their pods and returning baby Whibbles (or Whibblets) to their mothers takes up the majority of the game. With the Move controller in one hand, and Navigation controller in the other, moving and shooting (or swinging a melee weapon) can all be done with relative ease.
The remaining two events take the form of Survival - which has your hero fending off increasingly difficult waves of enemies - and Countdown - which has you destroying mechanical enemies and crates to collect enough crystals to launch a rocket. Launch all three without getting bashed to death by robots, and the medal's in the bag. Getting a gold medal in each challenge is frighteningly easy for the most part, but this is in keeping with the game's demographic. That said, diamond challenges after completion ramp up the difficulty considerably, extending the life of the game for any core gamers brave enough to endure the repetition.
A choice of hero or sidekick precedes each activity, although this fails to add much in the way of diversity. Aside from a special ability lurking behind the L1 button, each hero (or sidekick) handles exactly the same as the other two. Weapons help to alleviate this problem, demanding a variety of movements from the controller. The disc, for example, is thrown like a Frisbee and then guided around an environment with careful tilts of the Move controller. The energy ball, on the other hand, remains on the ground, thrown like a bowling ball and then smashed into clumps of enemies or Whibble cages.
The energy whip is perhaps my favourite of the bunch, demanding quick flicks of the controller, much like a school tie in the changing room battles of a secondary school. When you're not making simple waggling movements to swing your wrench or cane, the motion controls are actually rather competent. Of the many problems plaguing Move Heroes, the control scheme thankfully isn't one of them.
It's possible that an eight-year-old and his like-minded chum might squeeze an afternoon of fun out of the game, but that's all. I'd imagine turning a cardboard box into a time machine or sofa cushions into a spaceship holds more lasting entertainment than this. Playing the same five challenges over and over again is no fun for anybody.
Co-op functionality is included but is basic at best. Think of the cursor the secondary player has in Super Mario Galaxy and you're close to what's on offer here. Player-two can collect crystals and shoot things, but also activate special team moves. In what is one of the cheesiest actions I've ever seen in a video game you're required to bump move controllers together to perform these super attacks.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that Move Heroes was a bona fide platformer, with a hub world, collectibles and the odd boss battle to boot, but sadly it's little more than a Move-based mini-game collection - albeit a very well disguised one. With its dodgy narrative, interchangeable characters and distressing lack of variation, PlayStation Move Heroes does little more than sully the name of its otherwise respectable cast.