Tagged: Kinect

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.


Best Buy ad puts faces to some Kinect names

It’s nothing I don’t expect to see in a few days from E3 in print-ready resolutions but here’s your first look at some upcoming Kinect game box art by way of Best Buy’s weekly circular. A whole page is dedicated to the peripheral with several games on sale for $40 and $30 with two rows of “coming soon” titles that Best Buy would love for you to pre-order. That’s where these little shots come in and you can browse it yourself if you’d like to see the publicly facing… faces for other titles like Child of Eden, Wipeout, UFC Trainer, and Michael Phelps: Push the Limit.

Wipeout for Kinect looks like you’d expect

And it looks an awful lot like last December’s adver-game, Doritos Crash Course. Only now you get to do all the running, jumping and ducking yourself while your actions are hopelessly lagging behind. I thought this would be a fun Kinect experience but after playing Doritos Crash Course I kinda just want an even more polished version of that game that plays as tight as Super Meat Boy… and with a controller. Still, at this point it’s another Kinect game and that warrants at least a little bit of excitement still, right?

Done Playing: Carnival Games: Monkey See, Monkey Do (Kinect)

I don't know what kind of carnivals the developers go to...

When the Wii first launched I was excited for most every new game that came out, eager to see what innovative and physically engaging new experiences developers had created. Years later I’ve mostly given up on Nintendo’s hardware but I’ve fallen into that same whimsical frame of mind over Kinect. The desire to try more games and the shear luck that GameFly sent me a new release are the only reasons I’m playing Carnival Games: Monkey See, Monkey Do. It’s a tried-and-true minigame collection that got its start on the Wii and hasn’t learned many new tricks as it’s evolved over to the Xbox 360.

Ok, there’s another reason I wanted to give Carnival Games a shot: Skee Ball, or in this case ‘Alley Ball’ as it’s called. It’s one of my favorite redemption style games of all time and I’m always up for trying a new version of it that doesn’t require a $1,000 machine and ball wax. Right off the bat I was crushed as Alley Ball is one of the flakiest incarnations of the game I’ve ever played. The cups you’re aiming for have been rearranged and resized to make it extra difficult to hit and the process of simply starting a round takes ages by our attention-addled modern standards. It’s not just Alley Ball either, the entire game is crippled by excessive intro, explanation, and point tallying animations where the Barker and his titular Monkey regularly ridicule you for not playing better.

It’s like a one-two shot to the kidneys when a round will last just over a minute and be followed by thirty seconds of unskippable animation and dialog before you’re given a chance to do anything. I know it’s designed for children who may simply be content to jump around in front of a screen but I can’t fathom any of them having more patience than me to get back to the action. Those actions at least include a wide range of carnival themed games surrounded by some nice visuals. There’s a lot of atmosphere behind the action from familiar carnival rides to your Xbox friends Avatars who play alongside you. Twenty “diversions” are on offer and hit the classics like the milk can throw, Ring toss, batting cage, a wind-up wizard who tells jokes and fortunes, a dunking booth and more. There are also some attractions that I don’t remember from my local festivals like a pig race that sees you smacking the bacon, a monkey dance-off, a Price is Right inspired wheel to spin, and probably the best game of all: human Tetris.

None of the games are particularly memorable or complex but some of them are mildly entertaining (human Tetris, err, ‘Crash Test Dummy’ here). The whole experience would be more fun if each game lasted longer and didn’t take so painfully long to move between or restart. I can’t even recommend this for kids as they’ll probably get bored of waiting around just as easily as I did. And trust me, it’ll drive you nuts as well having to hear the Busker character repeat the same over-excited and condescending jabs repeatedly. Avoid it unless you’re as morbidly curious about Kinect games as I am.

Dance AND Sing like Michael Jackson on Kinect

If you thought Michael Jackson: The Experience on Wii wasn’t entirely engaging your rhythmic abilities you may appreciate this first look at the game adapted for Kinect. And if you love to see awkward press demos and unchoreographed backup dancers you definitely need to watch this.

It may  be the most honest Kinect demo I’ve ever seen as the paid, backup dancers do their own thing out of sync with the game and the lead girl keeps shooing them out of Kinect’s field of vision. I’ve witnessed the same over-exuberance and impatience when showing off Kinect to friends and family myself. And not to be too critical of her singing but it seems like she may have never heard ‘Beat It’ before this demo. Wait, singing?

Yup, Ubisoft is going for the ‘Flawless Embarrassment’ fatality with this game on Kinect. Not only is your sweaty, flailing image front and center on screen but you’ll also have to grab a mic and do your best MJ karaoke at certain points. No word yet if this is a separate mode or a higher difficulty from just dancing (wa-hey!) which is all I was really expecting from this game. This might be too much public indecency even for me!