If you got a new Xbox console this year for Christmas—you’ve got a ton of incredible games to choose from especially Halo 4. But if you also got a Kinect, you’ve got even more choices. As with any motion control system, it’s all in the games so make your choices wisely.
Over the last week, I’ve been playing a number of Kinect games—some I’ll feature in separate articles on exercise videogames and dancing videogames. But here, I’ll look at four and recommend the ones to buy and the one to avoid.
Angry Birds Trilogy
Pull out my iPhone and you’ll see a folder dedicated to Angry Birds. It literally has every single iteration of the franchise, including Bad Piggies, inside. To say I’m a fan… would be putting it mildly.
So imagine my surprise when I wound up hating Angry Birds Trilogy on my XBOX 360. The console version packs in the original Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio. You can play it with Kinect on your XBOX 360, with PlayStation Move on your PlayStation 3 or on your Nintendo 3DS.
The new cut scenes and concept art included in the game are great for fans such as myself, but it’s too bad since the motion control implementation is horrendous.
The game constantly told me it couldn’t see my hand. Half of that time, I could still play the game, however. But I barely made it before the third level before giving up. I knew it wasn’t my set-up, since the other three games in this article worked just fine. Stay away from this game at all costs.
Fable: The Journey
While Fable: The Journey is set in the world of Fable and features the long running character of Theresa, it couldn’t be more different than its predecessors. The game is a first-person, on-rails “shooter” where you play as Gabriel, the first main character to not have been born a “hero,” but instead made into one. Gabriel is a young dweller that lost his tribe and comes to the aid of the ailing Theresa, who has appeared in all four Fable games.
It’s set 50 years after Fable III and you help Gabriel become a hero by battling the corruption that plagues Albion. In your right hand, you can toss bolts, fireballs and eventually a spear called Magic Shards. In your left hand you can push, pull or throw things and enemies. In non-battle times, you’ll need to remove arrows and heal wounds on your horse Seren, pick apples and more.
When the Kinect tracks your movements perfectly, it’s a pretty fun game. When it doesn’t, it’s annoying and makes you want to stop playing. (I found it especially had trouble hearing me when I would yell ridiculous things like “Fireball” and “Magic Shards.”) But, Kinect would only miscalculate my movements every so often and soon enough, it saw me again and I was back to flailing my arms and throwing bolts so hard that my arms hurt afterwards.
Fable: The Journey is a fairly long Kinect game—the campaign took about eight hours to complete with me skipping some of the side missions—and tells a complete story that fits in perfectly with the established mythos. While I wish the Kinect implementation worked a bit better, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the game. This one is recommended, especially for teenagers.
Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth
I can’t remember the last time I played a fighting game, let alone enjoyed my time with it. Imagine my surprise then when I not only enjoyed Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth, but found out of all the Kinect games on this list—it was the most accurate at tracking my movements.
The game is based on the iconic secret invasion storyline, but don’t play it for the story. You’ll traverse through more than 40 separate two round fights over five different locations with just a scant description of why you’re there—I wound up playing about five separate battles. I played single-player, but you can do co-op or battle online.
There’s no tutorial – or at least one that I saw – but it’s easy to figure out what to do. On the bottom right of your screen is a variety of moves with color coding to show how to move your body. Pick one in any order you wish (though some will need to “rest” after you use them) and carry them out to attack your on-screen enemy. It’s incredibly fluid and I rarely was not seen by my Kinect—it picked up on all my moves and the right ones at that.
Fighting games aren’t for me, but I can’t help but recommend this game especially for those that really, really want to see Wolvervine, Iron Man and Spider-man all in the same game…
NBA Baller Beats
Think Guitar Hero with a basketball for this one.
Yes, you will actually dribble and move a basketball in front of your Kinect – inside your home mind you! – to the beat of a song.
If you’re terrible at basketball as I am, it is fairly complicated and very hard to dribble and look at the screen at the same time. Moves were very, very hard for me to pull off if it wasn’t just fake passing left or right. (And I have to imagine my downstairs neighbors now officially hate me.)
Surprisingly, the tutorial does a very good job of explaining how the game works. And the game developers smartly give you a lot of different venues, teams and songs to choose from even before you’ve played your first one.
Like many Kinect games, I was not surprised to see I unlocked five separate XBOX Achievements just on the first song.
I wouldn’t play NBA Baller Beats again, but I can see why people would like it. Somewhat recommended if you’re a basketball fan—and don’t have a ton of breakable items in your living room. I have to imagine a lot of people would love this game, but the small sliver that would like it, probably will really like it.
* Disclosure: A copy of all four games were provided by the individual publishers for the purposes of this review. *