Trine Games has been a busy little studio of late, releasing three console titles in less than two years. While Street Cricket Champions was fun in parts, last year’s Ra.One: The Game was quite a disaster. Now, however, Trine has released what gamers from our cricket-crazy nation have been clamouring for ever since Nintendo announced the Wii. Move Street Cricket, as the name suggests, is a cricket game for the PS3 based entirely on motion controls via the Playstation Move. Motion controls and cricket are the perfect fit, and in theory, Trine and Sony should have a winner on their hands.
But it’s never quite that easy. Cricket might seem like the perfect game to build around motion controls, but that only really extends to the batting part of it. The real challenge lies in implementing the other aspects of the game - bowling and fielding. But naturally, the first thing you want to do in a motion-controlled cricket game is batting, so that’s what I did. Off the bat (heh!), there were some controller calibration issues. For a game that requires such intricate use of the Move controller, the calibration process is rather basic, and this adversely affects gameplay. Even if you hold the Move controller with your wrists turned outwards to present the full face of the bat, the stance on screen shows the bat facing inwards. This presents a problem when playing shots on the offside, because you’ll have to turn your wrists out to an uncomfortable degree to open the face of the bat. Further calibration issues result in the bat often being half buried in the ground, despite the fact that I’m over six feet tall and my Playstation Eye camera is placed on top of my TV. A more detailed calibration process would have taken care of both these issues.
Do I make this look good?
That aside, strokeplay in Move Street Cricket is quite fun, and the game does a surprisingly good job of allowing you to play an array of strokes, including late cuts, paddle sweeps and the Dilshan scoop. It takes a while to get the timing right and even after you do get used to the game, playing back-foot shots square of the wicket is quite difficult. Making batting considerably harder is the camera, which is placed at a slight height behind the stumps on the batsman’s side. The problem with this angle is that the ball tends to get lost in the background after it leaves the bowler’s hand, making it hard for you to judge its speed and flight. All these gripes aside, however, Move Street Cricket delivers a batting experience that is quite close to what cricket fans would have expected from a motion-controlled game.
Unfortunately, the other aspects pale in comparison, especially the bowling. The delivery selection process is asinine, requiring you to perform looping rainbow-like gestures rather than simply pointing the controller in the direction of the delivery you’d like to select. Even more ludicrous is the method of placing the marker where you’d like the delivery to pitch. These cumbersome controls often lead to no-balls, wides, wrong delivery selection, and short balls. Batting was always going to be the preferred activity in a Move cricket game, but thanks to the poor bowling controls, you’ll often want to just quit matches once you’re done batting. Fielding is mostly AI-controlled, but the catching mechanic is again unnecessarily complicated. Rounding off the bouquet of poor gameplay mechanics is the running between the wickets, where the batsmen seem to want a drinks break before setting off on a second run. Long story short – the only time you’ll be having fun in Move Street Cricket is when you’re swinging for the fences.
I'm gonna take you to outer space
As the name suggests, the game is a take on gully cricket and features venues such as back alleys and amusement parks, although unlike Street Cricket champions, where venues were of different sizes and had different scoring rules, here, grounds are the same size and the differences are only cosmetic. The visuals aren’t anywhere near what you would expect from a PS3 game. Player animations are stiff, and the venues look bland and often too colourful. The sound effects aren’t up to the mark either; you’ll end up hearing players yell out the same phrases again and again, which can get quite annoying.
If your idea of a good cricket game is one where you get your kicks from batting and quit when it's time to bowl and field, Move Street Cricket is right up your alley. If you're looking for something even remotely well-rounded, however, you'll have to fall back on Codies' games and the standard controller.