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Kinect Adventures! Review

by on November 22, 2010

Game: Kinect Adventures

Developer: Good Science Studios

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Available On: Xbox 360 with Kinect Only

Packing a game in with a major peripheral definitely seems to work, see Wii Sports and Sports Champions for two excellent examples. Now it’s the turn of Microsoft to take a crack at things in a crowded market already full of games begging for attention.

Will Kinect Adventures sell motion controls to a whole new set of people or did Microsoft pack in the wrong title for their expensive new toy? Read on to find out.

For most people, Kinect Adventures is probably going to be the first experience of Microsoft’s new Kinect device after setting up the sensor bar and creating their Kinect ID, so it’s important that it sets it’s stall out early for quality and shows of the technology properly.

In that respect, if does succeed but only to a degree. When you first start Kinect Adventures, you’ll experience a few wow factors. Having it identify you automatically is fantastic and a genuine “wow, future-tech!” moment, as is seeing your avatar follow your actions on-screen to control the menus.

Apparently this is the standard Kinect Adventures pose...

It’s important to mention here that the Kinect sensor requires a minimum of 6 feet between you and the sensor for single player, whereas a whopping 8 feet of space in neeeded for optimal multiplayer conditions. They aren’t joking with these figures either, so don’t assume “Nah, I’ll be okay” because you won’t. Also, you might want to consider who will be playing Kinect most of the time. The household this was tested in has two children, the youngest being three years old and Kinect had a lot of issues seeing him properly due to his height.  Disclaimers out of the way then, let’s move on.

Kinect Adventures! is basically a series of mini-games, varying in difficulty and requiring different skills but all of them show off the tech in a different way. “20,000 Leaks” sees the player being put in a glass box under the sea and having small cracks appear in various places, your job being to plug the leaks with different body parts. Think “Twister ™” in video game form, but with cute avatars doing the business!

“Rally Ball” is the game most people have seen from the initial E3 demo and whilst it is fun to hit balls with every part of your body, it gets old fairly quickly mostly due to the input lag that seems inexplicably present during this mode. The input lag seems to get worse when playing with another player which can cause a high level of frustration and in something that is supposed to be fun, this is a very bad sign indeed. It can be fun at times though and hitting a multi-ball icon is funny, even if sometimes you might feel that just standing still and moving your arms slightly is enough to pass a round to a satisfactory degree.

Thankfully the same lag isn’t present in “Reflex Ridge” which is one of the best games on the disc. Standing on a gurney and being pulled along a preset course (differing in difficulty as you progress) you will have to avoid obstacles and grab the big adventure pins scattered along the way by making shapes with your body. Moving your entire body to the side and standing sideways to avoid an oncoming obstacle is a truly great moment and it just goes to show that when the Kinect Sensor bar works properly, it’s enormous fun and truly a unique gaming experience.

Jumping around like a maniac, a feature of "river rush" in Kinect Adventures!

“Space Pop” is by far the most boring of the mini-games on show here, basically amounting to make you move side to side and forward and back to collect adventure pins, you flap your arms to float up and hold them by your side to drop down. It’s that simple and even multiplayer doesn’t enhance it all that much. “River Rush” is another you might have already seen and also another of the better games in Kinect Adventures. You (and a friend if you desire) stand in a raft and go down stream, moving about the raft corresponds to the on the screen action, as does jumping.

As looks to be the standard for Kinect games, the sensor will at various points take photographs of you and allow you to share them via www.KinectShare.com for all the world to see. This adds another layer of fun to proceedings and ensures you always end each game with a laugh.

Mini-games are the order of the day then, but sadly there aren’t many and even the most casual of gamer will lose interest in most of them pretty quickly. Aside from Reflex Ridge and River Rush, there really isn’t much here to keep people coming back once the initial feeling of excitement has worn off.

There are bonuses that you can unlock throughout your playtime though, but again they aren’t really substansive enough for you care and some (Living Statues for example) are downright bizarre and feel as though they were thrown in because someone had designed them and they just had to go somewhere!

Kinect Adventures! is a very basic mini-game collection, neither all bad nor all good. For a pack-in game it shows off the technology very well, but lets itself down by strange input lag that appears more prevalent than in other Kinect games. You’ll definitely have fun with this title, but not for very long. If you are planning on buying a Kinect, you’ll want to pick up another game with it, because this one won’t keep your attention for very long and just isn’t as fun as it’s colourful cheery appearance might hint at.

Our scoring policy

Kinect Adventures! comes free with all new Microsoft Kinect packages and is available now.

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