Like every game system, it’s the titles that are going to make or break the concept, and lucky for Microsoft, there are some crackers available at launch.
The only title to come with the Kinect, “Kinect Adventures” offers a fun and easy way to familiarise yourself to the motion gaming system.
A title based around mini games, “Adventures” will have you flapping the air as you attempt to bounce onscreen balls against walls and dodge obtacles. You will look a bit of an idiot, mind, so check your self-consiousness at the door before starting.
Oh, and did we mention that the game will occasionally record how crazy you look as you play? You can upload these to Facebook later on, and we know you will. We certainly did.
More like a pre-requisite for launching a gaming controller, Kinect Sports provides six sporting activities including boxing, track and field, soccer, beach volleyball, bowling, and table tennis.
Tutorials are available and each sport generally lasts more than two minutes, providing a fun and often sweaty experience. The included party mode is a nice touch that allows anyone to jump in on the action.
We loved the licensed music playing in the background, something that helps to reinforce this as something other than just “another sports demo.”
While sports titles have become a standard debut release, so too have cute fuzzy animal simulations.
“Kinectimals” puts you on an island with lots of lovable feline cubs and kittens, all there to be your friend. They’ll mimic your movements, respond to your voice, and encourage you to indulge in some mini games where you kick and throw objects to knock other objects down.
Designed for kids, Kinectimals is easily one of the cutest games we’ve seen in a while. Despite being for the rug rats, it’s still an idea to have a “mature” player on hand, as some of the movements can be hard to remember.
Kinect Joy Ride
The only racing title available at launch, Joy Ride lets you put your hands together to pretend you’re holding a steering wheel.
You don’t need to worry about braking or accelerating, as this is all taken care of for you. Instead, just steer with an invisible wheel to the left or right, and weave your body in different directions for stunts and boost.
Easily the best of the lot, “Dance Central” is a dancing game created by the same company that brought you Rock Band.
Whether in the movies or real life, you’ve seen these dance games that provide you to make dance moves on a grid underneath your feet. Dance Central does away with the grid and lets the Kinect monitor what you’re doing, giving you the chance to let your head and hands get in on the fun.
The difficulty modes range from easy to hard, and the moves are great fun to get into. You’ll also find a “workout mode” that will track how many calories you’re losing as you play.
We found “Dance Central” a lot of fun, even when it made us look like complete pillocks. Or accountants at a disco.
Sega’s “Sonic Free Riders”
Six titles might seem like a small amount to launch with, but we didn’t get a chance to take everything out for a spin.
For the health nuts, there will also be “Sports Island Freedom”, “MotionSports: Play For Real”, “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” and “The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout”. Dancers can also grab “Dance Evolution” and “Dance Paradise,” while gamers of other genres can expect to see a fighting game called “Fighters Uncaged”, a snowboarding and hoverboarding title “CrossBoarder 7”, Sega’s “Sonic Free Riders” and the movie tie-in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”.
We have been told there will be more Kinect titles coming along soon, with at least one Star Wars lightsabre title on track in the near future.