Kinect Adventures Review*GASP* The level is called "The Olympian" for a reason! *WHEEZE*
Serving as an introduction to the Xbox 360's Kinect motion device, Kinect Adventures does the job well. This title serves as the first of the "Get off your bum and play some videogames!" generation of Kinect offerings, and while the variety of games presented are a mixed bag, the Adventure experience as a whole is enjoyable- and a great workout for writers who spend too much time on their laptops to go to the gym!
While Good Science is perhaps the most secretive of Microsoft Game Studios' teams, they are well known among early Kinect adopters for hosting this Avatar-centered activity. (Did you know that Kinect Sports is the second-most bought game for the Xbox 360?) There are five types of adventures to play and over 20 levels available test your reflexes alone or with a friend. Whether your pal is helping out over Xbox Live or beside you, entertainment value of Kinect Adventure's events is even greater when your score depends on a partner.
River Rush, Rally Ball and Reflex Ridge hold the "meat" of the Adventure, with a higher level of activity and challenge. Rally Ball is especially alluring, as the goal is to toss a "dodge ball" into a gymnasium-like arena to smash all of the blocks and targets floating around. It is hilarious to jump about while trying to keep the ball (or balls!) in play while strategically smacking the spheres around. Reflex Ridge is a gameshow-ish ride on a trolley cart along a fixed course. Along the way, you will have to duck, jump, dodge and move to avoid obstacles and pick up tokens. If you want a workout, try "The Olympian" level- the fatigue was worth the platinum medal! River Rush is exactly what is says on the tin: a wild ride through swirling rapids on a red rubber raft. Steering the inflatable craft involves moving from side to side while jumping propels you into the air to take alternative routes over pirate ships and into the clouds. This fast-paced ride is best done with a friend, as the teamwork required to net a high score makes for some funny in-game photos. (Yep, Good Science made sure to remind you that you look like a goofball while you play their game.)
The less active adventures, Space Pop and 20,000 Leaks, are fun but far less exciting than their counterparts. In Space Pop, you flap your arms to gain and lose altitude in a room that fires streams of bubbles. You must touch as many bubbles as you can to get the highest score. Leaks sets your Avatar in a glass aquarium setting along with a large amount of cheeky sea creatures bent on smashing the glass. The focus here is standing in specific spots while holding the position to "plug" the cracks in the glass. I'm not saying these are bad games at all, but they are rather easy- It's perfect for getting someone unfamiliar with videogames, much less full-body Kinect games, into the action. I'll give them credit for the creative use of the hammerhead shark- get ready to move when he shows up!
While Kinect Adventures is a generally good time with plenty of modes (Timed, Adventure, Freeplay, etc.) you are essentially playing the same five minigames over and over. Nothing wrong with that, although fit people may get more mileage per play session! I loved how your personal Avatar becomes the adventuring star of the game and that he or she is awarded with new Adventuring gear with each level of Adventure mode you conquer. The Living Statues are a neat toy to experiment with too, as you take control of a specific character model for 10 seconds or so to record your movements and dialogue to share via Kinectshare.com and Xbox Live. Some of these statues include a chubby hamster, silly dinosaur and a firework-shooting mega Avatar.
Kinect Adventures provides a compelling reason to test-drive a Kinect while waiting for even more titles to trickle out in the near future. There is plenty here for active videogame enthusiasts and Adventures is packed with charm, but good Lord- who thought it would be a good idea to blast an annoying trumpet for the majority of the menu soundtracks? I'd have preferred something mellower than a screechy trumpet in my ear as I'm catching my breath after a Challenging grade run through Reflex Ridge, such as bagpipes or a kazoo orchestra. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some platinum medals to earn!
-Arnold B. Carreiro
Developed by Good Science
Published by Microsoft Game Studios
ESRB: E for Everyone
The Arnold B. Carreiro Rating System
A - Awesome! Why haven't you bought this yet? Go! GameStop doensn't close for another 2 hours!
B - Great game! It'll be something fun to play for a good while. It's better than most games, but shy of perfection for some reason. You should check it out!
C - Meh. It's not a BAD game, nor is it good. Enjoyment may be limited to a certain audience though. Perhaps some aspects of the title are great while others are bogged down by bad design/gameplay/etc.
D - Not too great... Too much of the game lacks polish to be appreciated to the general gaming public, but there might be enough here for someone to enjoy. Maybe...
F - A complete train wreck. Vampire Rain is the last "F" game I've ever played. The bargain bin is too good for an "F" game.