Call the movers.
Despite Ben's professed love for weird games, it's pretty clear to me that any time a weird game comes down the chutes at Game Revolution, there's already someone's name on it: Mine. Somehow, I've become the resident "Quirky Game" reviewer. I don't really mind. After all, someone has to review them. With games like Animal Crossing, Incredible Crisis and Disaster Report, straying from the beaten path can be fun.
But it isn't always great to be quirky. Case in point: My Street, which plops you into a little suburban neighborhood and lets you play with other kids in a collection of mini-games. It's like Tom Sawyer mixed with Children of the Corn, but far less amusing than either.
To join in on the shenanigans, you must create your own pint-sized counterpart. There are many different character options as well as a random character generator, which seems to continuously give birth to some strange and ugly kids.
Once you've joined the neighborhood, you can take part in one of the seven mini-games. Yep, only seven, compared to like 75 in the Mario Party games. There was clearly a ton of thought put into this.
My favorite of the lot - and I mean that very, very loosely - is 'Chicken Herding', a blatant rip-off of Chu Chu Rocket, except with chickens and pigs. The goal is to direct the hens and chicks into your chicken coop and divert the stinky pigs away towards your enemies. It can be fun, but then again, it's Chu-Chu Rocket.
'Dodge Ball' is another decent mini-game. It's the classic game from grade school P.E. where a rubber ball is flung back and forth as you try to bean the sissy kid that picks his nose. The controls can be a little stiff, but it can be fun, if only because you get to brain kids in the head.
Beyond these two mini-games, My Street takes a sharp turn for the worse. The 'Marbles' mini-game isn't at all like the real thing. You control one big marble with magnetic powers and attempt to steer smaller marbles towards the goal. Your opponents will be trying to do the same thing; a well-timed bop will send them over the edge. The game is quickly forgettable.
The 'Lawn Mower' racing game is similar to the old-school arcade game Off-Road, where the entire track is seen from an overhead view. Also included is 'RC Cars', which uses the same overhead perspective, albeit with slightly different but equally irritating control. Since the PS2 does have dual stick controls, they should have implemented real RC style control.
My Street's 'Volleyball' game uses three buttons to facilitate the bump, set and spike; Beach Spikers and DOA Xtreme Volleyball use two buttons in more of a context sensitive capacity. My Street also utilizes indicators on the ground to mark where the ball will land. The different buttons used to return the ball must be hit at very precisely or the shot will be flubbed. It's unforgiving and touchy, especially when you try to spike, and it's just not much fun.
Also included is 'Chemistry', perhaps the worst puzzle game ever. It's like a combination of several different puzzle games, but without any logical basis to hold everything together. There's no "chemistry" in this game; rather, you drop blocks. While you'll find combinations as in Puyo Puyo and larger block creation like Puzzle Fighter, you must wait until a 'laser meter' is built up before you can destroy any blocks. Your blocks will be turned into unusable silver if an opponent manages to do some combinations first. It's poorly designed and just doesn't make any sense. No fun to be had here.
The single-player Story mode takes you on a whirlwind, linear tour throughout the different mini-games. At first you can only play one game, but when you beat it, you get an item that opens up the next game and so on. At one point, you must perform insanely boring chores for nearly a week just to buy a RC racecar. My Street is just not a good single-player game.
Part of the problem is that it doesn't effectively link the different games together into one experience. How about having your own room to decorate and chill in with the friends you've "made?" What about a store that sells items besides the generic props needed to get to the next mini-game? And why even bother with the Story mode when you can play all of the games right off the bat in the normal single-game mode?
Chicken Herding and Dodge Ball are fun to play with friends, but otherwise, the multiplayer outlook is rather gloomy. After repeated attempts, I was never able to connect to an online server. Besides, an online experience can only make a good game better; not much can be done when the games themselves are already lousy. My Street does not support voice communication via the SOCOM headset nor does the game support a USB keyboard, so players must make do with a laborious text entry device.
The visuals are merely average, with some bright, cheery environmental designs but unmistakably ugly children. The dialogue is painfully lame. My Street tries too hard to be hip and trendy and instead winds up sounding like a canned advertisement for Extreme Fruit Roll-Ups or something.
My Street might have had some potential, but 7 weak mini-games do not make for a good game. With only 2 out of the 7 warranting continual play, I'd say that's a pretty pathetic batting average. If you move into My Street, you'll probably move out later that day.