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In Memory
Sean Pettibone

EyeToy: Play 2 (PS2)


By Michael Palisano

The latest software for Sony’s innovative camera peripheral, EyeToy: Play 2 features 12 new mini-games that offer deeper, more exciting play. These mini-games cover a variety of genres from sports to martial arts and music. Each of the games is slightly more challenging than those found in the first EyeToy: Play title, making this one live up to the device’s potential. There are also a number of mini-games and extra modes that add even more to the total package. While this is not a full-fledged game in its own right, EyeToy: Play 2 is definitely more than the sum of its parts and worth getting if you want to make better use of the PS2’s mini-camera.

Taking the EyeToy experience to the next level, this follow-up features 12 mini-games and many extra features. The game offers more of the straightforward fun that made the first game so appealing. The games this time offer more variety and are more challenging than last time around. Some of the games are simple, while others are more complicated this time around. The basics haven’t changed that much, so players who enjoyed the first title should be able to jump right in. One of the cooler additions in EyeToy Play 2 allows two players to compete against each other at the same time, adding to the competitive nature of these social games. In addition, the EyeToy technology itself has been tweaked slightly, and its now more forgiving of light sources, making the games more responsive. The design of the new mini-games stays true to the original, with accessible yet challenging gameplay that makes the title easy to get into. There are a variety of genres covered ranging from sports, to kung fu, to cooking and more, which gives EyeToy Play 2 a greater variety. Players will also find more than 75 mini-games in the title, extending its replay value extensively. The games themselves are interesting, yet simple and straightforward, including both single and multiplayer modes.

Eye Toy Play 2 features a wide-ranging selection of single player games including Air Guitar, which is a cool music game where you have to catch the falling notes. This is surprisingly challenging, as the notes continually move faster as you play the game. Players can also save their best performances in this mode to play them back later. You can also hit the baseball diamond with Home Run, which is a really simple, yet challenging game where you have to use your arms then hit the ball. Once you connect, you have to move your base runners on the field, and gain as many bases as you can before the fielders catch the ball. It’s a bit simplistic for a baseball title, but it’s loads of fun and quite challenging to play. Another excellent sports game is Knockout, which pits you against a virtual opponent. There’s a surprising amount of variety here, as you can land a variety of punches and block your foes’ attacks as well. A more traditional video game is Bubble pop where you have to wave your arms and pop as many bubbles as you can before the timer runs out. One of the cooler mini-games has a home improvement theme, DIY which allows you to move objects around and destroy them using a variety of power-tools such as chain saws and hammers. Playing the air-guitar game is enjoyable, but players looking for something a bit more rhythmic might want to try pounding the skins in Drummin’, an excellent bongo-bashing mode where you have to match the beat of the notes as they fall from the screen. Timing is essential in this mode, and you get more points for more accurate hits. This is a lot of fun, and its addictive play means it will probably be one of the favorites on the disc.

Soccer fans will probably enjoy Goal Attack, where they take the role of Goalie and have to defend their goal from attacking foes. This is a lot harder than it sounds since the balls can come at you in unpredictable directions. This mode also includes several tests for agility, fitness, and skills, let you practice and build up you skills. One of the more interesting games on the disc is Secret Agent. Here you are trapped in a dungeon and must escape by finding objects, breaking codes and eluding search lights that are looking for you when you’re making your break out. This challenging and interesting mini-game adds a surprising amount of depth to the usual EyeToy titles. You can also challenge yourself with quick game of Table Tennis, where you need a good eye and reaction time to block and hit the ball against several different opponents, who actually put up quite a good fight at the harder difficulty levels. Players looking for something a bit more action-oriented might want to try the martial arts oriented Kung-2, which offers plenty of action as you try and defeat a master ninja and his minions. Some of their moves are quite tricky, such as vanishing or turning to stone, and the game also has a number of traps and obstacles that will impede your progress as well. This is a very challenging game and one most players probably won’t get past on their first attempt. On an entirely different note, the challenging Monkey Bars mini-game has you swinging over a series of monkey bars as you try to collect as many bananas as you can. The game is more difficult than it seems and includes a number of enemies along the way. What’s cool here is that you can shout at them which scares them and makes them move out of your way. The final mini-game Mr. Chef is one of the more enjoyable and addictive games on the menu. The object here is to grab and collect a variety of ingredients to build sandwiches and other dishes without dropping too many items along the way. This is one of the more enjoyable games on EyeToy Play 2, since its simple gameplay is enjoyable and addictive, making the replay value quite high.

In addition to these solo games, there are also a variety of two-player game, most of which are quite simple but loads of fun. Some of these include a basic running game, a mode where you have to guide a helicopter and one where players compete in a weight-lifting battle. In addition, there are several extra modes, including Spy Toy, which allows you to set up a camera and spy on anyone who happens to pass by. The most interesting of these is Eye Toy Cameo, where you can build a 3D model of your face and insert it into other games as well. Players can also visit the “Playroom” where they can demo other EyeToy games and check out some cool technology demos.  As you’d expect, the production values on the title are decent, and the light-hearted mood is in keeping with the game’s casual atmosphere. Sounds and music are likewise decent, offering a good compliment to the action. Overall, the title delivers what you’d expect it to on the graphics front, making for a pleasing appearance.

While EyeToy: Play isn’t a full fledged game like AntiGrav, it’s still surprisingly fun and taken for what it is, delivers a solidly enjoyable gaming experience. The variety of mini-games and different modes should give the title plenty of longevity, especially for those who like social gaming with friends. It would have been easy for the company to release the device and move on quickly but, Sony has to be praised for supporting their camera device, and not treating it as a one-time gimmick. This persistence seems to have paid off, since there’s now a pretty decent library of about a half-dozen titles on the market for the device, which is also supported in more standard games such as World Tour Soccer and more. EyeToy Play 2 is a good example of SCEA’s commitment. It’s obviously aimed at a more general, casual audience, but still offers plenty of enjoyment for players looking for simple, accessible fun and makes a solid addition to the EyeToy library.

Grade: B

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EyeToy: Play (PS2)
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