As Microsoft’s answer to Wii Sports, Kinect Adventures has some big shoes to fill. Whether they admit it or not, Microsoft hopes that Kinect Adventures will be that game that sells you and everyone you know on the peripheral, just like Wii Sports did. Does this pack-in title pack the punch of its Wii rival, or is it just another mini game collection?
Kinect Adventures is a compilation of five mini games. They are:
20,000 Leaks – A game where you plug a leaky glass box with your body
Reflex Ridge – A weird mix of a mine cart level and an obstacle course
Rally Ball – A Breakout-style game where you use your body to deflect the balls
River Rush – Raft down a river and collect as many items as you can along the way
Space Pop – Float around a space station and collect bubbles
Each game tries to demonstrate different ways the Kinect can be used. My favourites are Reflex Ridge and River Rush, both of which are quite fun by yourself or with a friend. Both games also require you to weave back and forth as well as jump. 20,000 Leaks and Rally Ball are alright. The dud of the bunch is Space Pop, which is as boring as my description makes it sound.
One weird quirk I noticed with Kinect Adventures is that all the games suffer from noticeable input lag. When you jump, your body will almost be on the ground before your character jumps. It can make games like Reflex Ridge really tough, because that game takes precise timing but the lag will throw you off.
Even though these games in general are fun to play, there are still only 5 mini games available. Microsoft tries to lengthen the experience by tying the mini games to various ‘adventures’, which are simply the same mini games, arranged in certain sequences with different goals tied to each. It will not take you long to power through all of the arranged content, nor does it really add anything to the core experience.
Kinect Adventures strikes me as a high-polish tech demo. Though the mini games are fun, there are way too few of them and their lasting appeal is minimal at best. After a handful of hours, you will have no reason to continue playing this game.
Since its a free pack-in game, we can overlook issues of length to a point. I still don’t have any motivation to play it for long, but I’ll gladly take it at the cost of free. It’s ultimate goal though is to sell you on the hardware. Does Kinect Adventures work well as that Trojan Horse? I don’t think so. People bought Wii consoles in droves just to play Wii Sports. No one will buy a Kinect just to play Kinect Adventures. This game simply shows users that the tech works, but it doesn’t do anything that other Kinect launch games haven’t already done better. If you want more fun party games, play Kinect Sports. If you want to see the Kinect tech applied to something fresh and advanced, play Dance Central.