Wipeout In the Zone Preview

It has never been a dream of mine to take part in ABC’s popular Wipeout TV show. You know the one. A knock-off of the Japanese show Takeshi’s Castle and Sasuke (known as MXC and Ninja Warrior here in the States), Wipeout is a game show in which contestants run through a series of very difficult physical challenges before falling into a pool of water.

It’s a sort of physical activity that has been replicated in XBLA title Dortio’s Crash Course and in Wipeout games for the Wii and DS. However, in conjunction with the upcoming season of Wipeout, Activision is releasing Wipeout In the Zone, a Kinect-enabled game set to launch on June 16.

At its core, Wipeout In the Zone is just an obstacle course game much like some of Kinect Adventures’ minigames. Unlike those previous games, Wipeout In the Zone focuses on throwing some very difficult challenges at you. All of your favorite Wipeout obstacles, such as the, ahem, Big Balls, will make an appearance here, and some are downright brutal.

The core gameplay itself is initially quite simple. Players move forward down the track by running in place. They can stop by holding their hands out in front of them, causing their avatar to step back. Jumping in place makes the avatar jump, as well, although there is a slight delay (a problem solved by the offending objects and jumping point, which turns green to prepare the player).

This basic mechanic carries players through most of the obstacles, from bouncing on giant trampolines and bouncy balls to jumping over and dodging rotating barriers. It’s much harder than you’d think, and getting past some of the more difficult challenges takes some practice. Thankfully, all a player has to do is hold his hands over his head to skip past a particularly difficult section–in exchange for a time addition to their overall speed run.

Some of the other challenges are a little more interesting. At certain sections, players will have to pose or perform other Kinect-specific challenges. While these can be on the easy side, they offer a nice break between sprinting and jumping.

Wipeout In the Zone is exhausting and one of the most intensive Kinect games I’ve played. Some will like this game specifically for that reason, as I doubt anyone could play this game for very long without falling over.

I’m more impressed with Wipeout In the Zone than I probably should be. The game is fun and active, which is important for a Kinect game, and it throws all of the Kinect-specific features at you constantly. It’s fun, and while not for everyone, it should keep casual gamers pretty pleased.