EyeToy : Play 2

Either this reviewer has become seriously out of shape, or EyeToy : Play 2 is going boot camp. The games are longer, harder and less forgiving. This version of Play sticks to the format of 12 mini-games, except now there's more substance to each game.

Whereas in EyeToy : Play each minigame lasted around 2 or 3 minutes, here each game can last as much as 3 or 4 times as long. In Knockout, the boxing game, there are now four opponents to beat plus three bonus rounds. Each opponent has a different style, as well as being increasingly difficult to beat.

One of the best aspects of EyeToy : Play 2 is the variety of play. Rather than just doing one thing, each game has a number of stages. In Mr Chef, for instance, there are seven types of food preparation to tackle, as well as cook-offs against the chef. In Secret Agent each stage is a test of stealth, but the stages are all different. From breaking out of prison, sneaking through corridors and cracking codes, it progresses like a story.

Unfortunately this is as close to narrative as EyeToy : Play 2 ever gets. The main character is the "minimate" helper, who looks like one the chef's ice cream rejects and sounds like a dalek with laryngitis. You always play as yourself rather than taking on a character role, and whilst you meet new opponents as you progress, none of the games have any drama or suspense.

The graphics are cartoon and don't make for great eye-candy, although this effect helps to make the gameplay clearer. Air Guitar and Drummin are the two musical games, and although they come with a range of musical styles there are no well-known tracks. Overall the soundtrack is nothing special.

Multiplayer mode allows players to compete against each other on sub-sections of all the games. This means that if you can't unlock parts in single player mode you can still unlock most aspects in multiplayer. It's all accessible, which tends to take the challenge out of working to finish a game. If you come to a draw in multiplayer this opens up a face-off round which involves things like bouncing bombs, growing flowers, or running. If your definition of running is "stand still and wave your arms madly" you'll do well at the latter. This aspect would benefit from dance mat integration.

There are several games that suffer due to the EyeToy's inherent inaccuracy: hammering in nails, sparring mitts, target practice in Home Run and any of the other sub-games that rely on gauging direction with any precision. This means that a lot of new ideas don't work all that well. But luckily EyeToy : Play 2 has plenty of choice and for every sub-game that has problems with precision there are two more that add new dimensions of fun to the EyeToy experience. Overall the gameplay is improved by games that are more detailed and varied than EyeToy : Play.