The Studio Cambridge-developed PlayStation Move party game is clearly a parody of British celebrity culture. But its presentation is so bonkers it's hard to believe that anyone outside of the UK will understand it. At least we can say it's "unique".
Our demo started with an introduction to TV Superstars' guide character — a nice young lady with blonde hair and a pretty dress. We forgot her name because we were too busy staring slap-jawed at her bizarre character model. While the characters in TV Superstars are part polygonal rag-dolls (think Buzz!), they are also part photograph. The character's faces are made up of real images taken with the PlayStation Eye, and the first thing we got to do in the demo was recreate ourselves.
Taking the photo was actually a bit of a pain. TV Superstars demands three images - a straight face, a smiley face and an angry face. We couldn't get our head to line up within the game's determined guide, but once we did, the camera wouldn't let us take the picture. Ten minutes (and plenty of swearing later) we got past the character creation screen. To be fair, the issues we had taking the photos were probably down to errors on our part, but it would have been nice for the game to give us some feedback.
Once our character was created though, we had to laugh. It's bizarre seeing yourself on-screen, but definitely in a good way. It's easy to see how just the character creation will end up with a lot of giggles at post-pub gatherings.
With the character creation out of the way, the actual-game is no-less bizarre. Out first stop is the Frockstar fashion show. From what we could gather during our short time with the game, TV Superstars is all about reality TV. And Frockstar is a fashion show, hosted by a bleached blond buffoon. The interaction here is simple. You wave the wand in-time to some music and land points for staying in time. At the end of the game our character was super-imposed onto the cover of a glossy magazine. It's a shame that Sony Cambridge didn't get The Sun and Heat licenses for this stuff.
Second up is the "Let's Get Physical" game-show. Presentation-wise it's like a cross between Funhouse, Get Your Own Back and Hole In The Wall. The first game has us making running motions with the PlayStation Move controller, as our on-screen avatar navigates a giant-spinning wheel. Hitting the Move buttons allows us to jump over giant boxing glove obstacles. We manage to ace the level and jump into the next game. This puts our character in a giant PAIN-esque catapult, from which we must launch and puncture giant windows in a haunted house. The games are fun but shallow.
With another photo-opportunity (and glossy magazine cover), our demo ends. It seems like TV Superstars will feature other show archetypes such as cooking and DIY. And it could be brilliant. But the demo left us scratching our heads. TV Superstars could be a profound social commentary on the state of British celebrity culture. Or it could just be a party game.
Either way, the presentation is bonkers. Like frighteningly so. You get the impression that Sony Cambridge were left to their own devices with this. Despite being a party game, it doesn't appear to be brimming with mainstream appeal. And that's concerning for a game of this nature.