Hole in the Gunstringer: A few Kinect demo impressions

DisKINECTed for what feels like months now, I had one fleeting day recently where I felt well and able enough to plug the motion sensing black box in and try out some demos.

Hole in the Wall
Based on the American TV show (based on the superior Japanese original) Hole in the Wall takes the perfectly hilarious concept of contorting your body to fit through holes in a rapidly-approaching wall and manages to make it lame. It doesn’t take much effort to fill the various silhouettes with enough of your body to get a Perfect score and the shapes were quick to repeat, even in the demo. Your Avatar is also poured into a skintight silver body suit which, while accurate to the show, gives me the creeps.

If you simply must have a game where you play human Tetris, this is the one to settle for. It’s one of the rare $10 games these days and it’s at the ready as an Xbox Live Arcade download. Your only alternative is the similar minigame packed into Carnival Games: Monkey See, Monkey Do. It’s a little more fun than Hole in the Wall but the rest of that package is a slow-loading and annoying pain. Sad to say, Hole in the Wall is the lesser of two mediocre human Tetris evils.

 

The Gunstringer
Much ballyhoo has been bandied about around Twisted Pixel’s The Gunstringer. The team are notorious for insane FMV and quality humor and this game was once the fabled first downloadable title for Kinect. Now it’s a $40 retail release and even bundled with a free copy of Fruit Ninja Kinect the value seems to be more in the experience than in the playing. Ultimately, Youtube may be the best place to experience The Gunstringer’s inventive marionette Western world without the hassle of controlling it yourself.

That’s a bummer to this retro-loving heart of mine because I get a surprising Sega Saturn vibe from the demo. The colorful visuals and 2.5D platforming sections remind me of Clockwork Knight and the on-rails target-painting immediately feels like Panzer Dragoon. Only every shot, jump and “surprise” is telegraphed well in advance to account for any lag and to not grow overly exhausting. The mechanics worked well for me and, as advertised, you can even play sitting down but that only made me wish this were a faster, harder and controller-based homage to those early 3D games of the mid-90′s.