Kinect Adventures

By: Tristan Clark    On: Xbox 360
Published: Tuesday 23 Nov 2010 8:00 AM
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Kinect Adventures: it’s the Wii Sports of Microsoft’s new Xbox add-on. Well, I guess Kinect Sports is that as well, but Adventures actually comes packaged with the Kinect - much like the Wii and its premiere launch title. See? It works.

So how can you judge a game that you get for “free”? It’s probably best to think of Kinect Adventures as a showcase of what the Kinect is capable of, and judge it based on how well it gives players experiences that are new, original, and… I don’t know, futuristic? In this respect, it performs adequately, but pretty soon you’ll be casting around for some launch titles with more meat on the bone.

There are five activity types in total that the whole package is based around, and as you might reasonably expect, some are better than others. Let’s go through them one by one, shall we?

River Rush is my favourite to play when someone else is around. The goal is simple: steer your inflatable raft through a twisting water-based obstacle course, collecting as many tokens as you can along the way. But here’s the rub: in order to effectively steer and, er, jump, you need to perform synchronised actions with your fellow player. It makes the activity much more fun and frantic as you scream, “Jump! Jump! Ju- Why didn’t you jump?! I told you to JUMP! Okay, this time…”

Reflex Ridge has you standing on a moving cart-on-rails type device, moving along tracks that are peppered with annoying obstacles. You’ll need to quickly sidestep, duck under, and jump over various things in your path. Again, another player adds a further wrinkle, as you’re now racing to see who can make it to the end first — and with the most points. It never gets overly difficult, but is fun regardless.

Rallyball is calmer, having you move your arms and legs to bounce balls into a series of obstacles that need destroying. It’s kind of like Breakout, only your body is the paddle. Hitting certain objects causes multiple balls to be put into play, forcing you to frantically adopt some nicely contorted body positions as the balls try to leave the play area.

20,000 Leaks and Space Pop are more subdued and… well, more boring. The former has you plugging constantly appearing cracks in an underwater glass container, using your hands, feet, and even head to cover things up. While the leaks do start coming thick and fast, it’s not the most satisfying of mini-games. The final activity simply has you moving around a confined space to collect glowing orbs. Again, while it ramps up in difficulty, it doesn’t excite in the same way as River Rush does.

So we have five different games, some better than others. If all the activities were up to the standard set by River Rush and Reflex Ridge, I’d be heaping a lot more praise on Adventures, but that isn’t the case.

You can tackle these activities in Free Play mode, or play through the more structured Adventure mode, which will take a good few hours to get through, and provides a few more twists to each activity. Along the way you’ll constantly be collecting tokens, achieving ranks in each level, and acquiring cute/odd ‘living pets’ that seem simultaneously pointless and fun.

As a packaged piece of entertainment designed to show off what the Kinect can do, Kinect Adventures succeeds. On the other hand, its limited range of activities also potentially shows what kind of genres the Kinect can’t do; it will be very interesting to see if developers can move away from the kind of uses for the technology shown here.

Like Wii Sports, you will soon tire of the activities on display. It’ll remain a fun option to bust out at parties or when you have kids over, but it’s not a deep experience — at least, not for those who don’t want to leap around like crazy for hours and hours on end. However, like Wii Sports, it’s all about hinting at potential and in this regard it’s hard to fault Kinect Adventures. I just hope that potential is realised, and not squandered on collection after collection of gimmicky, identical mini-games.

The Score

Kinect Adventures
"Fun at first, but won’t hold your attention for too long"
Rating: G   Difficulty: Easy   Learning Curve: 5 Min


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Comments (6)

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On Tuesday 23 Nov 2010 7:06 PM Posted by mattyj1974
I'm enjoying this game. I think there are maybe four games worth getting in the launch line up.

1. This game (got by default)
2. Kinect Sports.
3. Dance Central.
4 Fitness evolved if Zumba is not better. You really only need one fitness game in any case.
On Wednesday 24 Nov 2010 2:42 PM Posted by leopardsqueezy
There's a Zumba game? Dear gods....

And I dispute your claim mattyj that I only need one fitness game. I've been doing just fine with none all these years.
On Wednesday 24 Nov 2010 6:04 PM Posted by mattyj1974
24 November 2010, 02:42 PM Reply to leopardsqueezy
There's a Zumba game? Dear gods....

And I dispute your claim mattyj that I only need one fitness game. I've been doing just fine with none all these years.
Point taken leopard-boy. I should have used the first person in writing this sentence.

It may help you lose some wait though leopard-boy. I can tell from your typing style that you are a little obese.
On Thursday 25 Nov 2010 6:45 PM Posted by leopardsqueezy
Mate. Chill. You totally misinterpreted the tone of my comment. It was a minor quip about getting by fine without exer-games. I can tell from your typing and spelling you'd have understood better if I'd added a smattering 'LOL's and 'LMAO's to my comment.
With your being so fast to get cranky, perhaps you should consider getting your blood pressure checked? It's often a side symptom of being over-weight. Fitness Evolved and Zumba will help with that though, so keep dancing mate.
On Friday 17 Dec 2010 4:19 PM Posted by Garagerock
My girlfriend bought me this for xmas along with Kinect, we had fun for an hour & a half last night..I especially like making stupid voices for the character thing videos at end of achievement levels?

Maybe I'm just immature though haha... I can see kids would love it! Looking forward to getting one of the excercise titles... maybe a bit of boxing in future :)
On Friday 17 Dec 2010 4:36 PM Posted by Garagerock
I kept hitting my girlfriend when playing Rallyball.... don't call the police :)