Platform: Xbox 360
KINECT Sensor Required
Activity Level: Standing - Active
200 KB to save game
Adrenalin Misfits is yet another board based game in the early life of the Kinect. It seems the Kinect has its share of sports based boarding games and Konami has entered the ring with this snowboarding title. Given that the early Kinect games seem really geared to the casual crowd at this juncture, Adrenalin Misfits seems to fit right in. With that in mind, as I reviewed this title I took a different approach and looked at it from the perspective of what the Kinect has to offer now, and how the games developed so far seem to focus on the casual gamer as a whole.
Visually speaking, Adrenalin Misfits is not a bad looking game at all. The character design is somewhat of the highlight here as you will find dragons, frogs, wolves and other well designed animals looking pretty cool. Each character is dressed too, so you will find ripped jeans, baggy t-shirts, and other boarding centric clothes draped over their bodies. Sure, much of the look is stereotypical in terms of the boarding culture, but you have to give Konami credit for not including your stereotypical boarder dudes and dude-ettes. As for the courses themselves, they are quite well designed and look pretty good. You will find snow courses, some waterfall courses, a desert course, and even a lava course and more. So don’t expect to only race on your typical mountain courses covered with snow. What is really neat about the varying courses is that each one is filled with shortcuts, branching paths, big jumps, and the feel of speed. Overall the visuals get the job done.
The audio is a bit of a mixed bag here. In one sense the cliche sayings of all the in-game characters will delight kids, but annoy older people who play this game. As for the music, again, the kids will most likely enjoy it, but those older gamers out there will find it somewhat generic and uninspiring. As for the sound effects as a whole, you’ll definitely get the idea you are carving on your board, jumping in the air, and flying down the slopes. At the end of the day the whole sound package does the job, just not in a spectacular way.
Adrenalin Misfits is a snowboarding game, so the inclusion of any story at all is secondary, which is good because I really didn’t care if there was one or not. I just wanted to race down the various courses while using my body to control my on-screen character. When you first fire up the game you are introduced to Sabre, the leader of the group of ‘misfits.’ Sabre is a basically some kind of wolf-like character who definitely tries hard to be cool. He will introduce you to the game’s controls through a tutorial of sorts as you learn how to guide yourself down the slope. From here it is game on and you are tasked with opening up all the game modes included in the game.
Given that Adrenalin Misfits is a Kinect game, control is important, and in terms of how this game handles the implementation of motion control I have to say that the control scheme is not that bad and the responsiveness is OK. You have to stand sideways as if you are really on a snowboard. You lean your your body to steer, jump to jump, and you twist your body to initiate tricks. I found the responsiveness was pretty good, although there were times the Kinect just didn’t seem to recognize what I was doing. This was most noticeable at the start of a race. To start, you must be facing the screen and then move to the sideways position of riding a snowboard. Quite a few times the game did not recognize when I did this and I would invariably find myself having to make up lost ground. There were also other times that the game would not recognize me period, and I could not steer at all. These experiences were not frequent enough to ruin the game, but when they did happen it was frustrating to say the least. On a more positive note in this area, pulling off tricks is pretty easy as the moves are not overly complex and the game manages do do a pretty good job of recognizing when you do indeed twist in order to pull off an in-game trick.
The various game modes available are somewhat enjoyable. You’ll find Standard Races, Distance Jumping Challenges, Balloon Buster, Downhill Slalom and High Scoring Trick Score. Standard Races are self explanatory. In the Distance Jumping Challenges you have to literally stick out your arms to glide your character through the air to get the longest jump. In Balloon Buster you must collect coloured balloons as you race. In the Downhill Slalom, you must navigate through the flags on the course. Finally, in High Scoring Trick Score you must pull off successful tricks while boarding in order to get a high score. Only the Standard Racing trials are open at the start of the game, so you will have to spend some time racing and opening up other events for you to enjoy.
As you race you will come across some various power-ups. To use these you lift your leg up to charge it then slam your foot into the ground to fire it. You’ll see various colours of energy fire away as it tries to hit your competitors in front of you. These power-ups basically knock your competitors down or slow them in some way. That is basically the extent of what they do. It is a nice addition given that it is something else to show off the Kinect technology, as well as adds a small bit of variety to the gameplay, but it is not particularly innovative or a game changer.
As you progress through the game you will open up new characters to play, new snowboards that have different characteristics (e.g. speed, control, etc.) and new tracks. You will also open up strength and jumping power for your character(s).
Of course what would a snowboarding game be without multiplayer? Adrenalin Misfits offers up two player split screen play. Al-in-all it worked pretty well and I took my six-year-old daughter for a spin so to speak. She really enjoyed this aspect and being able to somewhat control the on-screen action was not only fun for her, but it was an enjoyment for me to watch and play with her. This is where the game somewhat shines. It is its ability to have the younger crowd, and newbies alike, play this game in a group setting while having some fun; and really, at this very early point in the Kinect’s life, that seems to be what most Kinect games are about.
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