Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Good Science Studio
ESRB rating: Everyone
Release date: Available now
Years after the Nintendo Wii proved that there was a large market for motion-controlled games, Microsoft decided to throw its hat into the ring with the Kinect. Unlike other motion-controlled devices, the Kinect requires no controller, and is instead controlled by the user’s body. It comes bundled with Kinect Adventures, which is a series of mini-games that showcase what the system is capable of.
Before I get into Kinect Adventures, you need a little information on the Kinect itself. It’s basically a camera that captures movement and sends this information to Kinect-enabled games on the Xbox 360. The technology is based on two 3D depth sensors and one camera, and includes a microphone for online and video chat, as well as voice recognition. The Kinect rests on a motorized stand that automatically tilts the camera to capture the best possible angle. It allows you to navigate through the dashboard using just your hands and voice, and the camera can automatically log you into your Xbox Live account using facial recognition.
Kinect Adventures is an adventure-themed collection of five mini-games: River Rush, Reflex Ridge, Rally Ball, Space Pop, and 20,000 Leaks. In River Rush you move left and right to steer a raft down a raging river, while jumping in place makes the raft hop, and you can use your arms to grab tokens that raise your score. Reflex Ridge is a moving obstacle course that requires you to jump, lean, and duck while racing to the finish line. In Rally Ball, you use your arms, legs, and even your head to bounce a ball towards targets. Space Pop features a room full of bubbles you can pop by waving your arms at them, and requires you to either move closer or farther away depending on where the bubbles are. In 20,000 Leaks, you must plug up leaks in your underwater vessel using any means necessary. All of these mini-games can be played alone or with a second player.
Kinect Adventures is a game that benefits from multiplayer. While the mini-games are alright when played alone, playing with a friend makes them seem much more fun. The game’s motion controls worked well, and I never had any problems doing what I wanted to do. Of the five available minis, I found Reflex Ridge and Rally Ball to be the most entertaining. The Kinect also takes pictures of you while you play, and those photos can be uploaded and shared with your friends online.
One complaint I do have about Kinect Adventures is the amount of room required to play. When alone, I had to stand around five feet away from my television. When playing with a second player, that distance increased to seven feet. Before each play session, we had to move our coffee table and couch to make sure there was enough room for the sensor to track both of us. This won’t be a problem for people with bigger living rooms, but for people with smaller spaces, moving your furniture around just to play a game isn’t always worth it.
Kinect Adventures is your first glimpse into the world of controller-less gaming when you purchase a Kinect. It handles the job fairly well, but the mini-games are mediocre and don’t stay fun for very long. If this were a stand-alone game, I would not recommend purchasing it, as the content would not be worth the price tag. Because the game comes with your Kinect purchase, however, I feel it is worth playing, at least until you go out and buy Dance Central.