Hole in the Wall Review
Based off the popular Japanese game show "Nōkabe," meaning Brain Wall, Hole in the Wall pits contestants against each other as they contort themselves to fit through various cutouts on a gigantic wall. Fail to mimic the cutout and be prepared to be pushed into a pool of water. Kinect Hole in the Wall arms itself with the core elements seen in the TV show, now in its second season, while creating its own interesting gameplay. Does the game deliver an exciting experience or is it simply a waste of 800 MSP? Read on to find out.
First off, Hole in the Wall is one of those games that suits Kinect perfectly. Many argue that games that take away the controller and use Kinect's capabilities are simply better with a physical controller. Hole in the Wall, on the other hand, can only be played with Kinect -opposed to other motion controllers (Wii, Move). The premise of Hole in the Wall is much like the game show: mimic the cutout with the silhouette of your body to pass multiple rounds. Unfortunately, passing the rounds is much different than the show, and in reality, is less exciting, Instead of your avatar actually going through the cutouts, you must hold the shape you're trying to mimic while a counter bar fills up. The better the match, the faster you pass the stage; the less accurate, the slower the bar fills, risking the chance of failing a stage (third fail, you take a dip in the pool).
The feeling of actually passing a stage by going through the hole is simply lost by the counter bar feature, and it actually makes the Kinect integration look much worse than it actually is. Kinect does a fantastic job of creating a silhouette, but then fails to accurately match the silhouette and the hole. Several times I would perfect a match, expecting the bar to instantly fill up, only to have it fill up slowly or not at all. Other times I would be completely out of the cutout's edges and would begin to see the counter bar fill up. This unpredictability creates many frustrating moments that are constantly present.
Surprisingly enough, the game show look-and-feel is accurately duplicated in the game; the stage, the commentary, the audience, etc. are all depicted the way that are seen on the TV show. Party play (2 vs. 2) highlights the feel of the game show's competition. The problem is, Kinect can not decipher which player is which. I would be player one, but in between different player's stages, Kinect would mix up who was who, shuffling me to a whole other player. This could be due to Kinect's body tracking or could be poor design by the game's developers, nonetheless it is an issue that detracts from the main point of the game: fun with friends.
Though priced at a measly 800 MSP, Kinect Hole in the Wall actually offers an impressive amount of content. The “Show” mode - which can be played alone - takes you all over the world, with each "level" presenting uniqueness based off where you are in the world. "Survival" mode, often referred to as "endless mode," throws wall after wall at you until you fail to match a cutout. The game itself poses some sub-par graphics that refuse to pay attention to details - obviously disappointed for a non-retail game.
Overall, Kinect Hole in the Wall offers an average game show experience. For a game that seemed to fit the Kinect category better than most, its extremely disappointing that it is cluttered with issues. At 800 MSP, game show enthusiasts will at least want to check out the free demo, especially if you enjoy the hit TV show. If you're looking for a game that delivers an exciting experience, set your sights elsewhere because Kinect Hole in the Wall fails to deliver.