TGS '07 Preview: Operation Creature Feature for PS3
The PlayStation Eye is garnering a bit of attention with the upcoming Eye of Judgment card game -- it's the first game that uses the PlayStation Eye past the point of taking video or pictures. Following on its heels comes another PlayStation Eye based game called Operation Creature Feature. The title is very literal -- it features pear-shaped creatures -- yet oddly fails to convey what the game is all about: The "operation" involves guiding these Blurbs through single-screen obstacle courses of varying difficulty to a shining destination portal by waving your hands.
Blurbs are attracted to motion, you see. And at a pre-TGS press event, we got to try our hand at saving blurbs, one hand swipe at a time. They sit there like lumps until you wave your hand around, at which point they float around your hand, as if it were a magnet. However, these Blurbs are fickle beasts; you lose them if you move too fast, and they seem to bounce around according to some strangely designed physics. It's frustrating when you motion for a blurb to enter the portal, only to have it fly in the opposite direction.
Each level gets progressively harder, as well as its own theme. The themes aren't just for visual variety, either; each level looks to have its own type of unique obstacles. And regardless of what level you play, the course at hand always sits in the foreground, while a reflection of you remains the background. In between the solid platforms, you can see yourself through the camera lens, and though it helps you line up your hand motions, it's bit difficult to prevent blurbs from hitting the edges of the terrain and bouncing away.
Though it may seem as though you should push and pump your hands with all your might to get the blurbs moving faster, that only seems to make them go haywire. Since the blurbs will be attracted to any sort of motion in the PlayStation Eye's gaze, you have to be careful of which parts of your body are moving; it could distract them. Due to this, a better tactic for gathering seems to be wiggling your fingers to attract, then slowly moving your arms down the desired path.
The early Mines level features rock formations and wooden structural beams straight out of the gold rush. Strategically placed beams often block the portal's path, so you must break through with the blurbs. Another stage, Deep Freeze, is as you may expect: full of ice and snow. But the blurbs, which generally plop out of the entrance gate in heaps, are now frozen into ice cubes and some are pre-laid around the courses. The iced blurbs are heavier, so it takes a little more force to move them along. What's more, some of the courses have laser beams that explode your frozen blurbsicles if you aren't careful.
Other levels available to us during the demo were "In the Foundry," "Submerged," and "Tactics and Traps," all of which have their own themes to bring to the table. Even so, the novelty wears thin fast, and the early version we played still needs some control kinks worked out, but it'll be interesting to see how things shape up as development moves along.