Kinect Adventures - Xbox 360

Kinect Adventures is of course the pack-in game for Kinect. It makes perfect sense since in the past few months this is usually the go to game they use for showing off the device. Plus Kinect Sports was just way too obvious of a choice.

So does Kinect Adventures show off just what the Kinect is capable of?

Kinect Adventures is at heart a collection of mini-games. You can play one of your choosing in Free-Play, or go through Adventure mode, which has you playing the games with a specific goal in mind such as beating a timer or collecting a certain number of gems. You can also hop online and play against people there.  

Let’s go cliché here and do a breakdown of each of the “adventures.”

First you have River Raft, which you may remember as the “look at the water!” game from E3. Here you ride a raft down rapids and collect tokens. You jump off ramps, and lean left and right to traverse the course. We tried this one first and I was immediately impressed. Everything works fluidly and the avatars match your movements exactly. There may be a little bit of lag with the jumping but I hardly noticed it.

This is also where I learned how physical the Kinect requires you to be. When first told to jump I simply made a jumping motion without my feet actually leaving the ground. It was similar to when you first learned to trick theWii when it asked you to do the same thing in some early titles (mostly thinking of Wario Ware). No that’s not good enough. Kinect sees that and just wonders what the hell you’re trying to pull. Your feet damn sure better leave the ground or else you aren’t getting anywhere. Once you start working through some of the later levels, you’ll be getting a pretty solid work-out.

Definetly the most physically demanding game is Reflex Ridge, which has you riding a cart through an obstacle course. You jump, duck and dodge obstacles as you collect tokens, and jumping speeds the cart up which is important as the faster you finish, the more tokens you receive. In the Advanced levels you will be moving near constantly. Jump, go left, duck, jump, duck, jump, move right, move left, jump, jump, jump, duck, faster FASTER! That gives you a pretty good idea of what awaits you in the later levels and if you’re like me, you wont be able to do too many of these in a row before it’s break time.

Rallyball was I believe one of the earliest demos shown for Kinect, back in its Natal days. You can think of this is an interactive Breakout. Balls fly at your character (oh god…there’s gonna be adult themed Kinect games aren’t there?) and you hit/kick them at bricks. When all of the bricks are destroyed, then you sir are a winner. This works very well as the game to really show off what Kinect can do.

20,000 Leaks is actually based on a pretty clever concept. You are in a glass box under the water and a bunch of smiling fish have decided that not only do they want you dead, but they want you to die slowly and painfully. They’ve taken it upon themselves to smash holes into the glass, causing the water to come rushing in. All the while they have the biggest, happiest smiles. The only way to prevent your untimely death is by using your hands, feet and even your face, to plug all of the leaks. At points you will be required to use all 5 at once before you can move on. It’s a solid idea and it works well here. It’s always clear where you should be placing your limbs and it’s always satisfying to deny those fishes their insatiable bloodlust.

Finally we have Space Pop, where you pop bubbles in space. You flap your arms to fly around and smash all of the bubbles on screen. There really isn’t much more to it than that but again, it’s fun and based around a pretty novel idea.

Out of the 5 there isn’t really a weak link in the bunch. Space Pop, Rallyball and 20,000 Leaks are definitely the more laid back games as they get you moving, but in a more subdued way. The other two will have you jumping all over the place and if you are not ready, you are going to be collapsed in a heap on the floor after a few play sessions.

Now while none of the games stood out as a dud, none of them are overly exciting either. Kinect Adventuresprimarily exists as a proof of concept, and on that level it works. It shows what the Kinect can do and gives you an overall idea of the technology. The games themselves aren’t something you’re going to play for hours on end. They serve their role, each one of them works fine, but there’s nothing too substantial to grab on to.

That being said, there is actually a surprisingly large amount of content to earn in this game. Getting everything in this game will take you a good chunk of time. There’s adventures to complete, medals to earn, and then there’s my personal favourite unlockable, the living statues. Here you receive a statue of say a hamster or a gorilla, and then you record yourself doing whatever motions you choose to do, and it often records your voice as well. Then the statue mirrors your actions, and also says what you said in a cartoony voice. Man I made that gorilla say some awful, awful things. It’s a neat little side idea that provided me with more amusement than some of the games themselves.

One great feature that I haven’t touched on is the local multiplayer. Of course all of these games are better if you have a friend playing with you and the way this is incorporated is pretty fantastic. If you’re playing a game solo and someone wants to join in, all they have to do is literally come and stand next to you. The camera instantly recognizes that they are there and it turns into a two player game. They can also leave at any point and the game returns to being a solo experience.

As a whole, Kinect Adventures serves exactly the purpose it was meant to serve. It’s the game you break out to show someone who has never played Kinect before just how it works and what it can do. The games are all solid, but none are too deep and there isn’t one that will hold your interest for too long at a time. There is no Wii Bowling in this collection one might say. But there’s absolutely fun to be had and the game serves as a great introduction to the Kinect in general.