EyeToy: Groove

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Last year, Sony’s EyeToy took the console world by storm. It was like the little camera that could – it went from being viewed as a novel idea to being the ultimate add on for the PlayStation 2 almost overnight. And with good reason, it worked as promised and was a heck of a lot of fun. Men, women and children all found themselves sucked directly into a dozen mini-games, using their bodies to wash windows, slap flatulent rats and beat down waves of ninjas. The one problem was that nobody was sure if Sony would continue to support this little gizmo. Seeing they had a hit on their hands, Sony decided it was well worth creating games for the EyeToy, and so now we have Groove, a dancing game that allows not just one, but two players to jump on the screen at once and shake their things to the beat.

At its core, Groove is a pretty simple dancing title. Instead of using a dance pad controller like in the Dance Dance Revolution games, your body is the controller. The EyeToy scans your image into the game and detects your movements, ensuring you’re keeping with the beat.
The beat is what it’s all about here, with 29 licensed tracks from 70’s disco to modern dance beats. In single player, you pick a song and start moving to the beat. As the beat goes on, dance icons float across the screen heading towards one of the six on screen target spots. You have to time touching the spot at the same time the icon hits it. A direct hit scores perfect (and more points), while just a slight miss will score you a “good hit.” So long as you don’t completely miss, you won’t lose points and have the round come to a premature end. There are three main dance icons; the single hit, triple hits (which require you keep tapping them until they disappear) and finally the sweeping move. The sweeping move requires you to swing your arm in an arc to score. All these dance beat icons keep the gameplay varied, and make you move and groove more than just tapping a controller would (as in Amplitude). Groove also rewards you for “going freestyle,” which is announced by an onscreen freestyle alert. Once you go freestyle, you can shake your think however you like and watch the points rack up.
While Groove is a fun game in single player, it rocks pretty hard in multiplayer. Unlike the original EyeToy: Play, which was had a “my turn, your turn” multiplayer, Groove offers up the ability for multiple players to enjoy a round at the same time. You can play co-op and have each player shoot for specific colored icons, or try the tournament mode, which is a royal blast. In tournament mode, the game will have you and your partner jumping in and out of the game like madmen, trying to make sure you’re in there for your turn. Playing in tournament mode assures you that you’ll get no rest during this game.

For the exercise freaks out there, Groove even has a calorie counter mode. So you can lose weight to the funkiest beats around. The only problem is that since you’re mostly just using your arms and hips to play, you won’t burn too many calories per song, unlike in the Dance Dance Revolution games, where you can sweat off a dozen donuts in about 20 minutes of play.
If you’re looking for a fresh new game for the EyeToy, Groove is definitely a worthwhile purchase. Both the single and multiplayer modes offer tons of fun, and those secret videos it shoots while you’re playing are sure to embarrass you time and time again.

Gameplay: 8
Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Replay: 8
Overall: 8
Good fun for anyone with an EyeToy camera and an urge to make a fool of themselves.

– Craig Falstaff