Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Action Games
Developer: Good Science Studio
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Local Multiplayer: 1-2 players
Online Multiplayer: 1-2 players
Kinect Motion Sensor
These past few months I have had the opportunity to play Kinect Adventures at several events including X’10 and the Kinect Launch Event in Toronto. The one aspect of the game that I loved right from the beginning was that I could jump into it with only a few in-game prompts and have little difficulty completing the tasks set out before me. With the Kinect now in my home, I am looking forward to seeing how well the final version of this game works and how well my four year old son adapts to the new game play as we are always looking for new ways to encourage family gaming.
In Kinect Adventures, you are able to use a pre-rendered Xbox avatar or your own avatar clothed in a Kinect Adventures uniform and the character's animations follow the same familiar style you’ve become accustomed to from your own avatar on Xbox. The best part of the graphics in Kinect Adventures is watching how well your actions are translated into the avatar's actions in the game. I found the game River Rush was an excellent example of how well this works as you must control a large orange rubber raft down a raging river through canyons and up on cliffs in this game. Tilting left and right as well as jumping brought my raft exactly where I wanted it and it was exciting to see my raft go soaring through the air.
The environments are vibrant and designed in such a way that they blend well with your avatar making your character seem to fit perfectly in its surroundings. In the games 20,000 Leaks and Rallyball your avatar is placed in a type of clear box and the way these settings were designed gives them an excellent 3-D feel and makes you feel as though you are right there in the box with your avatar. It is also really fun finding yourself in the middle of the ocean in 20,000 Leaks while you see fish and sharks swim all around you; of course it is a different story when they come by to make leaks in the walls. Living statues is definitely another great touch allowing you to record movements and voice to a statue when you complete an adventure. This adds a bit of personality to the game, rather than static trophies that sit on a shelf in the trophy room.
Overall, the graphics are typical for a motion sensor game in which the true aspect that pulls in a gamer will be how well the controls work with the graphics. This game achieves a good balance in providing functional graphics that do not distract from the gameplay but also add a rich playing environment that will keep you entertained. With that in mind the graphics for Kinect Adventures definitely do their job.
Kinect Adventures has some great sound effects throughout all the adventures and adds to building up the humorous and at times hyperactive atmosphere the game strives for. I know my son enjoyed the sounds of my avatar getting thwacked in the head by one of the obstacles and got a real kick out of the fish ramming into the glass tank. The music works well with the game, but unfortunately there is a lack of variety, so if you play for a good amount of time you may want to switch to some of your own music to avoid the repetition.
Surprisingly the voice cast that narrates and guides you through your Kinect Adventures is really well performed and you can feel their energy and enthusiasm as they speak. The voice actors should be given a lot of praise for using their talents to get gamers pumped up and ready to game.
If you’re unfamiliar with how the Kinect Motion sensor works all you really have to know is that, “You are the Controller.” What exactly does that mean? The Kinect Sensor reads the motions you perform and translates them into the game. Swing at a ball, jump up and down or slide to the left are just a few examples of what you can do. The Kinect Sensor is hooked up to your Xbox 360 and usually placed above your television to get the best view of the playing area. The playing area should be cleared off of all furniture, toys, clutter, etc. and should be roughly 8 feet by 6 feet so that you have a lot of room to move about and even have a friend participate. It did take me a bit of time to set up the perfect area to play Kinect and it was well worth it to have a safe Kinect Gaming area especially with kids around.
Kinect Adventures has you join the Adventure Team as a Cadet where you work your way up through the ranks to become an Expert Adventurer. Along the way you get to explore the world while collecting treasure and earning rewards through a variety of different adventures. There are five different types of adventures that include: Reflex Ridge, River Rush, Rallyball, 20,000 Leaks and Space Pop. In addition to these, when you complete an adventure you get to create a Living Statue that allows you to record an animated video to display some of your dance moves as well as your vocals. The activities overall work well with some shining a little bit more than others, but all in all they are all a lot of fun and will keep gamers entertained.
Reflex Ridge: Imagine a huge obstacle course in the likeness of Wipeout where you have to duck, dodge, dip, dive and dodge while collecting as many pins as you can to get a top score. Typically, you have to run through an obstacle course, but in Reflex Ridge you are transported on a trolley that rolls along on some tracks. Speeding up the trolley is as simple as jumping up and down, but you have to time the jumps so that you don’t run into an obstacle.
River Rush: This adventure is probably my favourite as I found it to be the most enjoyable when it came to co-op action. Nothing says fun like jumping into an inflated orange raft and going down a raging river full of rocks, jumps and caves to navigate through. This activity has two core motions: leaning and jumping. Steering is performed by leaning in the direction you want to go, which then shifts the weight of the raft to that direction. Whereas, jumping can get you up into hard to reach places as well as secret areas that you would never have imagined being at.
Rallyball: Rallyball places you inside a squash court with a few targets protected by boxes at the end of the court. The objective is to destroy all the targets then clear away all the boxes as fast as possible with your trusty rallyball. To throw in some variety there is a target that will transform your rallyball into multiple balls that will have you moving all over the place a lot more and help you clear the level a whole lot quicker. This activity is definitely some good fun, gets your heart pumping but does get repetitive at times.
20,000 Leaks: 20,000 Leaks ranks as my least favourite due to the fact it is not very fun and the controls are not as finely tuned as the other games. 20,000 Leaks has your Avatar placed in an oxygen filled tank below the sea, where sea creatures bump into the glass walls and you have to use your hands, feet or even your head to plug the leaks. Unfortunately, for some reason the software does not pick up my feet that well when I am plugging floor leaks and at times the cracks are so far apart I can just barely touch all of them at the same time.
Space Pop: Taking place in a low gravity room Space Pop is the easiest of the activities to learn as you flap your arms to float up, and hold them next to your body to float back down. The room is three-dimensional so you will have to move forwards and backwards to reach the bubbles that stream into the room. The objective of the game is to pop as many bubbles as you possibly can within the time frame. This game may seem simple but it does take a lot out of you as you have to jump forward and back a lot, along with flapping like a bird to get the bubbles quickly as they don’t linger too long.
Kinect Adventures can be played co-operatively or in versus modes locally and on Xbox Live which creates quite a bit of fun as you either work together or work against each other. Multiplayer fun always bring games to another level as playing with friends and family is a large part of gaming. All in all I found Kinect Adventures quite enjoyable and give it a thumbs up as the packaged title with Kinect for Xbox 360.
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