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EyeToy owners have been waiting for a proper game to lift the gadget out from its ‘novelty’ tag, and Antigrav hopes to do just that...
Back in the dark ages when the only way to play videogames was by using your hands, the release of Sonyâ??s EyeToy peripheral for the PlayStation2 was seen as a novelty item, an object that would attract the attention of passers-by outside of Dixons but something that could never be taken seriously as a significant bit of kit for your beloved black consoleâ?¦and youâ??d be right.
Up to this point in time all weâ??ve had to play are either mini-games or, erm, mini-games; there hasnâ??t been a â??properâ?? game released for the peripheral. Thankfully developers may finally be starting to turn their hand to â??seriousâ?? games for the EyeToy, and AntiGrav may just be the catalyst for such a development.
We donâ??t know about you but ever since Back to the Future II was released back in the early 1990s weâ??ve been yearning for hoverboards; true enough, none of us here at TVG Towers can ride a skateboard or snowboard without falling on our butts, however this has not stopped the dream that one day weâ??ll be able to float on a board and look cool doing it. Well now that weâ??ve given EyeToy: AntiGrav a test run we can honestly say that at least one of those dreams is closer to coming true, itâ??s just that being EyeToy we still look like some crazed loons waving our arms about but this time we look like weâ??re also suffering from acute constipation.
The game has been developed by Harmonix, the guys behind Amplitude and Frequency, and they have definitely kept a lot of that same visual style in mind for AntiGrav, with bright colours swooping through environments quickly becoming one of their hallmarks. The company is also renowned for making games that usually stray away from what is thought to be the norm, so have they sold out, or have they tried to bring the mainstream to them?
Welcome to the futureâ?¦
Right from the off it does have to be mentioned that the most important thing to do before starting a game is to correctly calibrate your face because as we found out, if itâ??s not done properly then the game just falls flat on its face. Not only that, but If you have a bad back and lack the ability to jump or duck then it has to be noted that the game probably isnâ??t best suited to someone in your positions. Also, mercifully, the developers have also included a tutorial to the game, which will soon get you up to speed with the controls and techniques that are required in the game.
EyeToy: AntiGrav relies on capturing the position of the playerâ??s head, as well as the arms; to control the board, players must use both head and their arms to successfully pilot it across the finish line. The position of the head is basically used to steer the board, whilst the arms are used to grab coloured symbols that if gathered correctly, will propel you through the air at faster speeds. A turbo bar is also included on the display that can be activated by crouching down when travelling on tarmac. To obtain precise control of the board requires two things: firstly, a well calibrated EyeToy, and secondly a little bit of practice because at first it very much seems that even the slightest change in posture heavily affects the hoverboard.
After finishing last a number of time though it does become second-nature â?“ the EyeToy is already very intuitive by its very nature, but even a game such as AntiGrav feels natural. The one concern that we have is that sometimes the calibration isnâ??t quite as effective as weâ??d like and there have been many occasions where weâ??ve found ourselves spinning around in circles because our EyeToy couldnâ??t â??seeâ?? us properly; hopefully Harmonix have been able to tweak the calibration in the time between the preview and review builds.
To race or not to raceâ?¦
The gameplay in AntiGrav is split between two specific modes: Sprint and Style, both of which are fairly explanatory. The sprint mode allows gamers to race across 10 tracks against three other computer controlled hoverboard riders with the age old objective of crossing the finish line first. What makes AntiGrav that more appealing is that the tracks have multiple routes through them, so for a lot of the time you wonâ??t even see your competitors.
The routes are intertwined in a number of ways: thereâ??s the normal road system, which is congested with hover cars, thereâ??s the pipeline network, which is very Harmonix, and finally there are the hover hoops, which players can reach by leaping off the various ramps strewn through the tracks. Each of the routes have their own skills so that for instance the pipeline networks require the player to jump and duck at certain points, where as flying through the air requires some delicate manoeuvring of the head and arms. We have to admit that it was the flying segments that we had the most difficulty is grasping, as they are nearly impossible to control if the EyeToy isnâ??t precisely calibrated.
The style mode is where playerâ??s can show off (and by â??showing offâ?? we mean flap your arms about like the Ground Support Staff at airports), and perform various tricks. This mode is arguably more difficult than the racing modes as wild movements can confuse the EyeToy. Itâ??s also worth pointing out that people and objects standing in close proximity to the player are almost certain to be hit â?“ this is not the most relaxing game mode on the planet.
The game does include a multi-player element in it, although it doesnâ??t expand beyond each player taking it in turns to race/perform a trick â?“ weâ??d have hoped that it may have been PS2 Online compatible but the feature was lacking in the US release, so itâ??s safe to assume that it wonâ??t be making appearance in the European version either.
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