6th December 2010 - Kinect Adventures is the title that shipped with Microsoft’s new Kinect sensor and what better way to put the sensor and its flagship game to the test than with a group of friends of all sizes and gaming persuasions.
Basically this game is about collecting tokens whilst on adventures that don’t really seem to transition or gel together all that well and the only thing they have in common is they are this game. That is probably a little harsh though as that is the case with most mini game collections and there have been other games draw longer bows than this one. So I am willing to let it slide.
The five mini games that make up Adventures and you can play them as an adventure or as a free play type arrangement. You can also battle it out for the quickest time or head online for some multiplayer mayhem. The first game is 20,000 Leaks where you need to plug leaks in an underwater observatory with your hands and feet and Space Pop where you float around popping bubbles Charlie and the Chocolate factory style. These are the two games that I feel offer the least in terms of playability and these are the games that you will tire of most quickly. That is not to say that you won’t tire of the other ones, you will, just not as quickly!!
The other three games are River Rush which sees you man an inflatable raft over obstacles including rocks and shipwrecks to collect more adventure tokens and have you jumping around like a madman or madwoman. Rallyball which kind of brings back memories of playing handball up against the wall at school but you are using your whole body to keep the ball in play down a tunnel where blocks at the end are just waiting to be smashed. Lastly there is Reflex Ridge where there is more jumping and positioning of your body at weird angles to pick up the tokens on a railroad of sorts.
Now I may have sounded a little harsh above and this game is not all bad. Most of the games are quite enjoyable at first but they just don’t have the legs to go the distance. This is the sort of game that you keep in your collection to pop in when someone who hasn’t seen Kinect work and wants a demo of it, it is the sort of game that comes out when you have friends over and all the kids want to play before the adults have a few beers and think they are better at it. It is not a bad game, but it is not a great game either.
The motion tracking works really well with only the occasional issue with the camera tracking the players’ feet. It is most noticeable in 20,000 Leaks when you are trying to plug a hole on the floor., but it is only occasionally and you just need to make sure you have a lot of space and this issue is somewhat reduced again. I did have some issues with loading players’ avatars and occasionally people would get the wrong avatar or a generic one. This issue as also seemed to be reduced and it is hard to say whether it is from the Kinect ID re-scans we have done or because the kids now know when to change players and to not change players mid activity. Again it is not a huge issue especially when playing this game as a party game.
Some of the other little touches in the game are the ability to upload and share the photos that are taken mid game. They are usually photos of you jumping in the air or balanced on 1 leg. One of the best features for me is the ability to hop in and out mid game. It doesn’t matter that it won’t always sign me in 100% the ability is something that the Lego games perfected and if you are making a family game now days it should practically be mandatory.
The graphics here are very nice especially for what is basically a bunch of tech demos with the adventurer theme to tie them all together. The environments are brightly coloured and look great, even if they aren’t greatly varied between the levels. The avatar re-creation is really good handles the graphical reproduction as well as the other launch titles that I have played.
The sound fits in with the theme of the game with adventure bongos and catchy little tunes. There is a limited amount of voice acting which is not nearly as cringe worthy as say the voice acting in the Scene It series of games. The sound recordings when using them for the living statues can get a bit busy with all the noise going on with the kids in the background or if you have people over. But really that is a minor thing as you probably aren’t going to be too worried about the quality with a group of people.
It is hard to work out the value of this title as it is basically free with the sensor. Having said that you can also say this game is worth around $50 and that therefore lessens the theoretical cost of the sensor. But if you were to look at the tech in the sensor and the game together then I think that whilst bordering on the expensive side for an add-on, it is still a pretty good deal.
Kinect Adventures is not the killer must have title Microsoft were probably originally hoping for, but it is a lot of fun with the right people. When compared to the titles such as Wii Sports Resort it can feel a little light on for content, but compared with the original Wii Sports as a packaged in first generation title it compares pretty well. Sure it is short and you won’t get a huge amount of replay out of it outside parties and the kids, but if you take this game for what it is, a well presented and functioning tech demo that everyone can enjoy, it is not a bad addition to your collection.
AAG SCORE: 6.9/10
- A lot of fun can be had with the right people.
- The hop in, hop out nature of the gameplay is great for parties and kids.
- A small amount of mini games when compared with something like Wii Sports Resort.
- Not a huge amount of replay value and you could bore quickly after the initial wow factor.
Reviewed and Written By Michael Brennan