For the longest time, pack in games had become a thing of the past and then the Wii launched and to entice people to buy their product Nintendo packaged it with what would quickly become a cultural phenomenon, Wii Sports. Now, four years later, both Sony and Microsoft are tasked with proving to people that their motion tech works and both have chosen games to launch alongside their systems. Sony went the conventional route choosing to launch the Sony Move with Sports Champions, Microsoft on the other hand decided to buck the sports mini-game pack in trend and has launched their motion device, the Kinect, with Kinect Adventures.
I can think of a few reasons why Microsoft chose Kinect Adventures to come with their system. The first and most important reason is that it works, quite well and as a tech demo for the system. Simply put Kinect Adventures works and as a show piece to get families interested in the device it does its job admirably well.
The second reason is that it bucks the trend and avoids direct comparisons to Wii Sports. Kinect Adventures tasks players with going on adventures. These adventures are actually just a series of motion centric mini-games with a weird adventure motif thrown over the top of them. I suppose calling it Kinect Adventures makes far more sense than Randomly Strewn Together Motion Games but the whole adventure aspect of the title just feels a bit awkward. Awkwardness aside though it is different than your standard sports title and that is enough to make it stand out.
There are five different mini-games to partake in and for the most part, they all work quite well. One of the first Kinect demos to be shown was Rally Ball and it is no surprise that it makes an appearance in Kinect Adventures. Rally Ball can best be described as a human version of the arcade classic Breakout where your body is the paddle. In Rally Ball, players will be using their whole body to attempt to keep the ball in play as they work against a timer trying to clear the stage. The game does a great job at tracking your body and projecting your movements on the screen and while there is some input lag, it is hardly noticeable.
Much like Rally Ball, Reflex Ridge requires you to use your entire body. Reflex Ridge puts players on a moving platform as they attempt to navigate a Wipe-Out like obstacle course. If you want to get a work out going in Kinect Adventures, Reflex Ridge is the game for you because you will be jumping, ducking, and side stepping all over your play space and on some courses it is likely that you will work up quite a sweat.
River Rush, Space Pop and 20,000 Leaks round out the rest of the games and all have you doing a variety of different actions to accomplish the goals. River Rush has you moving from side to side and jumping to collect adventure pins as you move down the rapids of a river. Space Pop has you moving side to side and flapping your arms as you attempt to pop as many bubbles as you can and 20,000 Leaks has you posing your body in an attempt to stop the leaks in an underwater observatory. There is not anything particularly wrong with these three games but they just don’t hold the entertainment value that Rally Ball or Reflex Ridge do and a lot of it is because Kinect Adventures works best and is at its most fun when the games task the player with using their entire body.
The third and most nefarious reason, depending upon your viewpoint, for Kinect Adventures to be packaged with the system is that as a game, Kinect Adventures is sorely lacking. That is not to say that it is not fun but there just is not a ton of content in the game. Even if you decide to play some multiplayer, there just is not a lot here. The five mini-games will keep players occupied for a short while but after playing the demos that come on the Kinect Adventures disc (Kinect Sports, Dance Central and Kinectimals) they are going to want more. This is perfectly acceptable and honestly I am happy that Microsoft decided to pack in this game instead of trying to sell it as a retail game. As a proof of concept it does it’s job and it works as a gateway drug to better Kinect experiences, just don’t expect that much from it and you will have quite a bit of fun with it.
3 out of 5