And the novel Kinect game ideas just keep coming. The latest? A downloadable title called Leedmees that mixes a healthy dose of Lemmings with a fair amount of body contortion. Does this crazy combo result in a decent final product? Sort of!
The basic premise runs thusly: your body is represented on screen as a spindly, lanky creature. Using your arms and legs, you need to create platforms or walls to guide mindless creatures from an entrance to an exit. Help them over chasms, throw them over obstacles, and let them ride on your shoulders. During the early levels, when things are kept pretty simple, this works wonderfully, and ferrying your little dudes across from one location to another feels great.
After a while, your muscles begin to protest from all the contortions you’re forced to do. Unfortunately, this coincides with a fairly fiendish ramp up in difficulty. Later on in the game’s single player levels, you’ll find yourself trying to keep one foot and an arm placed over switches, while simultaneously transporting your little guys and waving away ghosts with the other arm. It feels like a standing version of Twister.
It’s pretty crazy, and the Kinect camera (or its implementation here) sometimes struggles to keep up. Broad gestures work well; minute repositioning of limbs does not. That lack of fine control becomes an issue if you’re a completionist: getting an ‘S’ rating in all the levels can get pretty frustrating, requiring a level of skill beyond what the game can actually handle. Your little creatures are also annoyingly frustrating at times, getting squashed beneath your lumbering limbs when you’re trying to gently pick them up.
The multiplayer stages are where the fun is really at. The frustrating elements of the gameplay are still there, but contorting your body with another person alongside you is oddly fun. That sentence came out dirtier than I expected, but you get the idea: it’s even more like a weird, standing version of Twister when two people have to splay their limbs out in crazy directions. You’ll often have to guide your little creatures from one person to the other. The exit might even be over someone’s crotch at times, which can be kind of awkward, depending on who you’re playing with. Overall, though, it’s fun in brief bursts, and I suspect playing this game after a few drinks could be even more insane.
The presentation of Leedmees is clear and crisp, but won’t blow you away. You can get through the single player levels in about three hours, although naturally it’ll take longer if you want to get good rankings. The multiplayer suite of levels also helps to eke out the longevity. But you may get frustrated before finishing, thanks to the difficulty spikes. In short bursts, however, Leedmees presents a unique concept that — and its best — can be really fun to play. If you can overlook its drawbacks, you’ll find a fun puzzler here that won’t make your wallet cry.