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Impressions: Kinect Adventures

2:37 AM on 10.26.2010 // Ben Perlee

No bit of hardware is any good if there is no software to show it off. Arguably, Wii Sports was the system seller for that console, and the fact it came bundled with the Wii only made the whole shebang that much more appealing. Microsoft is making the same bet by bundling Kinect with an equally casual title: Kinect Adventures. Does it measure up?

No bit of hardware is any good if there is no software to show it off. Arguably, Wii Sports was the system seller for that console, and the fact it came bundled with the Wii only made the whole shebang that much more appealing. Microsoft is making the same bet by bundling Kinect with an equally casual title: Kinect Adventures. Does it measure up?{{page_break}}

Well, let's jump right into the minigames. Players are well accustomed to the Breakout-esque Rally Ball Microsoft profiled during Kinect's big unveiling in 2009. This is a fine minigame, and does exactly as promised, with players leaping about to knock balls back in a surreal game of Wall Ball. Another game, 20,000 Leagues, entailed being in a glass box under water, and as the box cracks, players twist their body around to plug the holes.The most enjoyable however, would be Reflex Ridge and River Rush. The former is an obstacle race, in which you have to jump left and right, squat below barriers, or leap above them while collecting little tokens. River Rush dealt with a lot more moving to the left and right, as you control a raft by jumping and leaning around. Both of these are very, very physical, probably more physical than any other game I've played before.

Ultimately, these are all grand in single player, but the mini-games become much more dynamic and fun when done in multiplayer. Seriously, I had a blast running through Reflex Ridge against Hamza Aziz, and jostling with friends while leaping about is surprisingly fun.  Multiplayer can be done local or online, and drop-in play is as simple as walking in front of the camera, with Kinect recognizing player's faces and applying the correct avatar.

Unfortunately, while I was entirely enthralled by the physicality of the games (my legs and abs were aching after ten minutes), and how the interaction between players corporeally makes this game incredibly dynamic, I am concerned that Kinect Adventures will offer fun in only short bursts. The game is exhausting after any substantial amount of play, and the party-centric nature of Kinect Adventures means those looking for a long lasting game might want to pick up some more software when Kinect launches. Thankfully, Kinect Adventures, as a pack-in title, looks to be more than entertaining enough to introduce players to the device. Good Science Studios and Microsoft Game Studios may or may not have a runaway hit like Wii Sports, but Kinect Adventures fulfills its promise of showcasing what the device can do.

Ben Perlee,
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