Following on from my review of Kinect Sesame Street, Microsoftâ€™s second title in their â€˜two-way televisionâ€™ range is for a slightly older audience. Created by the National Geographic Society, this interactive learning experience is all about animals. With it kids can hang out with a pack of bears or lions and not end up a piece of human jerky.
Kinect Nat Geo TV isnâ€™t so much a game as it is an interactive sequence of multimedia clips. The eight sections on the disc play out like 30 minute television episodes and during which players will be able to answer questions or navigate information by using gestures and on-screen motion controlled buttons. While Kinect Sesame Street was a series of mini-games with an educational theme, the content here is purely academic. But Kinect Nat Geo TV still offers a lot of engaging fun.
Just the fact that itâ€™s on your Xbox 360 and that itâ€™s motion controlled is a clever way to entice children to partake in what is, essentially, extra homework on the weekends. Parents will learn plenty too, as Kinect Nat Geo TV is packed full of beautiful photography, short video clips, interesting factoids, and puzzle solving. Even the legendary David Attenborough would probably leave the room having learnt something.
Some of the highlights include the Go Wild role-playing minigame, where young players can stand in front of their TV and be transformed into an animal of their choice - like a wolf, a lion, a bear, and others. Obviously, every kid wants to be a kick-ass beast, and theyâ€™ll have blast dancing and ripping up mad sh*t - all while their on-screen animal-avatar does the same thing thanks to Kinect.
In order to keep things educational, there are objectives that are tailored to the specific animal too, so for example as a lion you might need to hunt birds, or a bear might need to break branches off a tree. After a while they tend to be repetitive, but by this stage you can rest assured that the player has expanded their knowledge of the animal kingdom in some shape or form. And burnt off all that sugar they had at lunch time.
Just like Kinect Sesame Street, there is additional off-disc content accessible through Xbox Live. Owners of the game will be given a National Geographic TV episode pass which provides one year of access to more than 20 episodes of the award-winning Nat Geo TV show. These episodes arenâ€™t tailored in the same fashion as the game, however, so they donâ€™t include any interactive content and arenâ€™t quite as kid-friendly.
Microsoftâ€™s Kinect is impressive tech and granted, has had a rough time making any headway in the world of gaming. Itâ€™s here, though, that the motion-capture technology excels. Giving kids a creative outlet in an educational realm is fantastic and Kinect works beautifully for navigating media and getting people up off the couch. With the unpredictable (and often wet) weather this Spring, having this game up your sleeve might be a godsend on a rainy Sunday.