What We Know:
Heroes On The Move mixes three classic PlayStation franchises (Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank and Sly Cooper) into a single game made specially for the Move. The trailer showed very little in terms of gameplay, but we were able to get some hands on time with the game at Gamescom, to find out exactly how it plays.
What We're Seeing Now:
It will probably come as no surprise to you that Heroes On The Move is a minigame collection. However, it's probably one of the more competent minigame collections that I've seen. For those who are looking for a meaty game experience, that's somewhere akin to saying that I've just had a reasonably painless poke in the eye. Though, for fans of the franchises or those looking for another reason to pick up a Move in the next six months, it might be worth a look.
The game will contain 40 missions, each lasting an average of five minutes. These range from throwing deadly frisbees at floating enemies, bowling, or taking part in third person shooter style arena combat. At least, these are the only examples that have been shown so far. Each challenge has gold, silver and bronze medals to unlock.
The story, which is definitely not considered canon for any of the individual series, revolves around villains from each of the games joining forces and pulling chunks from the various worlds together. The purpose of this is to make the heroes compete with them in challenges. Make sense? It doesn't matter, this game clearly isn't about the story.
What it does mean is that they can pull assets, locations an enemies from each of the games and turn them into challenges. In the levels I played I recognized Haven City from Jak & Daxter, Metropolis City from Ratchet & Clank and Paris from Sly Cooper. There are also enemies from each game all mingled together in some levels, so the developers at Nihilistic don't seem to have any qualms about mixing everything together.
The melee and gun combat levels are probably the most interesting. I was expecting on-rails sections that simply required timed swishes with the Move controller. Instead, it's full third person adventure/shooter style gameplay, using the navigation controller (or a DualShock 3) to move around and the Move to attack. Each challenge is built for either the main character or the sidekick and you can choose which of the three game's you'd like your character to originate from. For melee combat, this choice dictates their finishing move and the weapon that they use. Ratchet uses his wrench, Sly uses his cane, etc.
The melee combat challenge is a capture the flag style mode. There are multiple objects you need to collect around the map which need to be returned to base. You can pick up multiple objects at once, but the more you carry, the more enemies will spawn. Dying will return all the items that you haven't returned to base back to their hiding places. The buccaneers from the Ratchet & Clank series have large swords, which they will hold either vertically or horizontally, requiring you to change your attack direction to get through their guard. This is very similar to the sword combat in Zelda: Skyward Sword, and works just like it does in that game.
The Gun combat challenge works in much the same way as melee combat, as far as moving around is concerned. Instead of sweeping the Move in an arc to attack, however, you'll be pointing at the screen and pulling the trigger. Aiming around the screen feels very accurate and intuitive. Shooting too much in quick succession will make your gun overheat for a short period of time. The tip of the Move controller will change color from green to red as your weapon approaches overheat, which is a great piece of visual feedback, not only for the player, but for those watching, too.
The other modes, bowling and disc throwing, were not playable but looked like decent fun. Disc mode requires you to kill as many floating enemies as possible in the time limit. Throwing the disc is as simple as flicking your wrist, after which you can use the Move to change the course in mid air. Bowling is similar, in terms of being able to control the ball's movements after you've let it go, but is more of an obstacle course with multiple pathways to an end goal.
If all 40 challenges in the final game are as varied as these, then this could be one of the meatiest minigame collections we've seen. Even if not, fans of the franchises (particularly younger ones) will find something to enjoy here. The game's not out until some time in 2011, so chances are that you'll be bored of Move Sports Champions and Start The Party by then, and ready to pop this in.