Kinect Adventures Review
Most anyone who purchased Kinect will be receiving Kinect Adventures this holiday season, a predictably approachable and family friendly title that helps showcase some of the Kinect’s sophisticated nuances. Adventures will be familiar to those who’ve played similar casual “sports” titles, which virtually eliminate advanced strategic theory and instead emphasize simple fun.
Whenever possible, the game will utilize your avatar for gameplay, albeit dressed in colorful, sporty attire. The premise is centered on joining a team of friendly adventurers, who travel the globe in search of interesting physical challenges. In each of these, you’ll measure your success by collecting pins. This is the quantifiable currency by which one’s success is measured, though the main “Adventure” mode is fairly easy to get through, even at advanced levels.
There are only a few basic types of challenges. One is essentially an obstacle course on a conveyer belt, which is one of the most aerobically taxing since you’re constantly jumping, ducking, and striding around to avoid obstacles. The others are relatively gentle. Riding a raft on a wild river requires leaning and jumping, while hitting “rally balls” puts your reflexes to the test. One of the cleverest games sets the player inside a submarine tank. Various fish bash against the glass, so you’ll need to press your limbs against the leaks in order to plug them (it’s a magical, self-repairing glass apparently). It’s most comparable to a game of Twister, only with fewer lawsuits by the time the match is over.
Some accomplishments are rewarded with good ol’ achievement and gamerscore bumps, while others provide more interesting prizes. On occasion, you’ll receive new accessories for your avatar. More unique are the “living statues,” however. Using the Kinect, you can record your own actions and voiceovers for the statue, which can then be saved and replayed endlessly to the aggravation of your roommates. For example, one of the first statues you’ll unlock is an obese hamster, who will clumsily mimic your expert dance moves, and repeat your words in a high-pitched whine. It may be the sort of thing a child will find more amusing, but it’s a clever utilization of the new hardware.
Bright colors and simple, clean playing fields dominate the visual landscape. There are instances when your partially-transparent avatar will hinder your field of view, but this doesn’t happen enough to detract from the experience. Even with two players – the second can jump in simply by walking beside you – the game runs steadily with no noticeable glitches to speak of. This also applies when taking the game online, which is an entirely new dimension of interaction. However, the body-tracking capabilities are not quite precise enough to translate your teammate’s lewd gestures. Limbs do “flicker” and dance wildly at times, but the game is pretty forgiving.
While undoubtedly fun, Kinect Adventures does have a tendency to become tiresome due to the lack of variety in each game type. Still, it is a hell of a lot more fun than going to the gym and staring at a wall while you jog in place for ten minutes. I would guess that Kinect Adventures will provide just enough jolt to spark the consumer’s interest in other Kinect titles available. As far as free starters go, it’s still hard to go wrong with this one.