Giant Bomb Review

35 Comments

Kinect Adventures! Review

3
  • X360

Microsoft's Kinect pack-in is a middling minigame collection that bores as often as it amuses.

Considering the massive, almost baffling level of popularity Nintendo enjoyed with its system pack-in, Wii Sports, it's not altogether surprising that Microsoft would include a similar type of pack-in for its foray into motion-controlling technology. Perhaps to avoid direct comparison's to Nintendo's tech, that game is not Kinect Sports. Instead, it's Kinect Adventures, a collection of non-sporting minigames aimed to show off the myriad benefits of Kinect gaming through such activities as river rafting, bubble popping and leak plugging. As a demonstration of technology, Kinect Adventures is mostly successful. However, as a game, its qualities are a bit more scattershot.

 Kinect Adventures does little more than a serviceable job of showcasing Kinect's technology...and making you look silly in the process.
Each of Kinect Adventures' five minigames revolves exclusively around you jumping, ducking, side-stepping around, and periodically flailing your limbs like a positive lunatic in order to collect "pins," which are basically the game's version of points. The best of these games finds ways to integrate a variety of these motions over the course of each play. The worst rely on you doing the same stuff over and over again, just in different positions. It's roughly a 50-50 split between either end of the spectrum.

The games that work the best are River Rush and Reflex Ridge. River Rush puts you on a raft that sails down one of a few different obstacle courses. You'll be side-stepping to steer and jumping in the air a lot to collect congregations of pins scattered throughout each course. Reflex Ridge also has you riding something (in this case an on-rails cart) while dodging various obstacles via jumping, ducking and side-stepping, as well as jumping around and contorting your body to collect the maximum numbers of pins. Again, what both these games have going from them is that each course finds a way to keep you guessing about which types of obstacles are about to come your way. These are also easily the best workout you'll get in Kinect Adventures, if that's the sort of thing you're into.

On the opposing side are 20,000 Leaks and Space Pop. In 20,000 Leaks, you're in a glass tank underwater, and dickish fish keep wandering up to crack the glass and spring leaks. You plug those leaks by contorting your body to cover them up. That's it. While it does make for some amusing body humor to watch people make these goofy positions, it's barely enough of a game to amuse beyond the first couple of play-throughs. Space Pop is lousy for different reasons. You're in a space station, and bubbles start flooding the room in various configurations. Because it's space, you can float around the room by flapping your arms, and drop back to the ground by pulling your hands to the side. While there's a bit more game here, it's also a colossal bore. At no point does the game ever find a way to make this act exciting or even amusing.

Sitting somewhere in the middle is Rally Ball, one of the first bits of Kinect technology Microsoft ever showed, and by far the most tech-demo-ish element of the game. This is basically human Breakout, where you're handed a dodgeball and tasked with tossing it at a bunch of moving targets while returning the ball over and over again by moving your limbs around the play space. Again, there's not an awful lot to this game. Hitting bonus targets will return volleys of balls back at you, which can be a little hectic, but by and large this whole game is just about arm and leg flailing. That said, it's a lot more satisfying to play (and fun to watch) than the two previously mentioned games.

 The whole living statues thing feels like it came from a completely different (and markedly more insane) game.
The best thing you can say about any of these games is that the technology largely works as it should. I only ran into a few weird bits of my on-screen avatar flipping out due to me being unable to get into the position the game wanted me to get in (possibly due to couch-based constraints). That said, technology alone does not a game make. The lack of variety and mixed level of quality of the minigames in Kinect Adventures ultimately drags the experience down a few pegs. This becomes especially clear the longer you spend playing the game's adventure mode. While it does a decent job of mixing up the objectives with timing- and collection-based goals, the repetition of the same games over and over, with only moderate increases in difficulty to differentiate each play-through, makes the adventure mode feel like a lackluster grind. The rewards for playing also aren't terribly enticing, with perhaps the sole exception of the game's inexplicable living statue concept. What is a living statue? I could try and explain, but perhaps it's better to watch...

By the dual standards one generally judges a pack-in title by--specifically, whether the game showcases the newfangled technology you're purchasing alongside it appropriately, and whether or not it's any fun--Kinect Adventures comes up a bit short. While the technology is certainly sound, nothing on display here makes an overly compelling argument for the merits of Kinect, and though some of the games are fun--more so in multiplayer--too few of them are strong enough to keep the experience from wafting into the realm of the monotonous. New Kinect owners will undoubtedly have some fun early on with it, but Kinect Adventures seems destined to be more or less forgotten by the time the next wave of titles hits store shelves.
35 Comments
Posted by ZebN

About what I expected.

Posted by oatz

cool beans

Posted by DarkbeatDK

And 3/5 is probably the best of the Kinect bunch... 
Still pretty early to warrant a killer app...

Posted by Milkman

I SHOULDN'T EXIST! I SHOULDN'T EXIST!

Posted by TheCheese33

Good review, but please, someone draw Alex some more caricatures now. Might as well acknowledge his presence as a writer for both Screened and Giant Bomb.

Posted by Mrskidders

So begins the start of all Kinect reviews scoring 3 stars and under.

Posted by zombie2011

This is pretty much a proof of concept than a game.

Posted by TooWalrus

I think Harmonix Dance Whatever may get a 4-star review, but after that, what else is there? Even on he horizon, what games have been announced that someone like myself has to look forward to?

Posted by TheCheese33

I would like to mention something to all the doom-sayers of Kinect. In 2005, the 360 came out. Was there a killer app for that? None of the games, be it Condemned Criminal Origins or Kameo, really made consumers want to immediately jump to the new platform. It's the games that released afterwards that really made the 360 a must-have console. 
 
I feel like the same thing applies for the Kinect. Even though it's not an entirely new console, I feel like the released will be handled similarly. Also, in terms of the crappy Ubisoft games, one must remember that they did the exact same thing for the Nintendo Wii. Red Steel, anyone? 
 
It's up to the developers, like always, to make the product shine. I think we'll see some great hybrid games that use both a normal controller and the Kinect (like head-tracking in Forza), along with some stellar Kinect-only games.

Posted by jozzy

What's with the negativity?
 
Dance Central definately will get at least 4 starts. If you base the score on the merits of Kinectimals for the target audience (kids) it should get 4 stars as well. Kinect sports is better than Adventures, but maybe not enough to warrant 4 stars. They seemed to like the Fitness Evolved thing so that might be 4 stars, but I doubt they'll review that one.
 
All in all not bad as far as launch-games go. Hope to see some better and/or innovative stuff in the coming months.

Posted by tobygw

 The rally ball game definitely looks the most interesting out of these. This game seems to remind me a lot of eyetoy play
 
Does this game have 1000 gamerscore? That might make it tolerable.

Posted by amir90

in b4 shitstorm,
 
ohh wait, no one cares, haha

Posted by Slax
@TheCheese33:  Didn't Call of Duty 2 come out just about release time? And Oblivion was only a few months behind. I think those were some pretty important games in the 360's library early, that did encourage early adoption. But maybe that was just me.
Posted by TheRandomKo

Glad to hear that the tech works properly since i'm getting it wednesday.. :)

Posted by MachoFantastico

Yet to be dazzled by Kinect, at least from what I've seen of the launch titles.

Posted by mm665

Is Alex on GB team now?
Half reviews last month are from him.

Posted by airules

So in short, this game is something you can play with when you get your kinect but lacks the long term game aspects to make it the next wii sports? Surely that isn't such a bad thing? I know wii owners who only own wii sports because it's all they want/need. If wii sports wasn't bundled in maybe it would push nongamers to buy more games. Or it might lack the initial incentive.

Posted by JCat
@Mrskidders said:
" So begins the start of all Kinect reviews scoring 3 stars and under. "
Might want to look around at reviews of some of the other games. The internet is quite large.
Edited by Mrskidders
@JCat: I have read plenty of other reviews on the internet but that is irrelevant.  My post is about Giantbomb's reviews and their star rating system, which I thought was pretty obvious by the fact that I have commented on a review on Giantbomb.  It implies that I don't think that Giantbomb will give a review over 3 stars to any Kinect launch game, which has nothing to do with the rest of the internet.
 
If you need any more clarification then feel free to PM me and I can go into more detail for you.  Don't worry, I will talk slowly so you can follow and you can take notes.
 
EDIT - Oh and welcome to Giantbomb.
Posted by JonathanMoore

Eh. Will wait for that 5 star Kinect game I guess..

Posted by DeeGee

It looked the same amount of fun as any Wii party game.

Online
Posted by TheCheese33
@Slax: Call of Duty 2 was more of a big release for the PC gamers, since it was riding hot off the heels of the first entry's success. And Oblivion came out months later, which brings me back to my point that we will most likely see some great Kinect games months after launch.
Posted by SleepyDoughnut

lol I like that Navarro is able to put out reviews faster than any of the actual GB crew.

Posted by CornBREDX

Ya, I suspect most Kinect games are like this and will be like this for a little while if not until it dies (whichever happens, i cannot be sure at this point although I tend to believe Kinect wont make it. i do want to be proven wrong on this one, though). 
 
Just a quick side note I hope no one flames me for (just an observation), this is a pack in game. You dont pay for this game- you get it if you get kinect. Most pack in games are generally tech demo-ish (especially on newer stuff/systems). I dont know, what I guess i'm getting at- what is the point of this review? =P 
 
I'm scared this is coming off as mean, I just dont get it. Oh well, awaiting the inevitable hate from people for me making an observation and questioning something. This is nothing against Alex, I just dont get it.
Posted by Grilledcheez

Good review, the biggest downside of this game to me was the limited amount of activities.

Posted by Darkstorn

Absolutely loved the Quick Look for this..."MURDER MEEEEEE AUUUUGHHHH"

Posted by DaemonBlack

I wish the giantbomb staff proper could crank out reviews as fast as Alex.

Posted by Maginnovision

I watched the entire live show... I'm not feeling kinect. At least not yet.
Posted by Bloodgraiv3

Watched the live show, and been playing some Kinect myself...not a fan. 
Posted by stinky
@Bloodgraiv3 said:
" Watched the live show, and been playing some Kinect myself...not a fan.  "
 
have you met the horse?
Posted by dim499

these people invent a new form of game trying their hardest to revolutionize the whole thing and all you have to say about it is "meh"

Posted by TwoOneFive

Move>Kinect

Posted by Ronald

Are there any good living statues after the first? I've seen the next few and apart from being able to do a massive Soulja Boy dance none have been as fun as the first. As to review scores, I could see Dance Cetral, Kinect Sports, and Kinectimals possibly doing better than this. But if you are honestly looking for five star reviews before you buy a Kinect, you might need to rethink whether you enjoy games or not.

Edited by JCat
@Mrskidders:   
 
 My sincere apologies ---  I thought you were referring to star ratings in general, not just Giant Bomb. That being said, sorry about your incorrect prediction,  Miss Cleo, but "Giant Bomb" gave Dance Central  4 Stars; so much for all Kinect games getting three stars.  Oh, thanks for the welcome - the pleasure is all mine.
Posted by Mrskidders
@JCat: I'm already over my false prediction.  Im sure I will get by in life without a Kinect and Dance Central.