Kinect Adventures Review

By Dana Vinson - Posted Nov 03, 2010

Kinect Adventures is a stellar collection of mini-games set against the backdrop of being a globetrotting adventurer and it's incredibly fun and inspired way to show off the capabilities of Kinect.

The Pros
  • Really fun mini-games
  • Enjoyable rewards for completing adventures
  • Kinect integration is flawless
The Cons
  • Is mainly aimed at kids
  • Though mini-games are fun, they can get repetitive at times

Kinect Adventures Review:

When people think of motion gaming, they think of sports games. It's only natural since both the Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation Move came bundled with sports titles that showcased the potential of their motion control systems. Now, Microsoft has come out with Kinect, the revolutionary controller that uses no controller and has taken a different route, bundling their peripheral with Kinect Adventures.

At its core, Adventures is a collection of mini-games, but that's not a disparaging remark. Adventures is what we've always wanted mini-game collections to be like, with an engaging story, characters and a ton of modes to keep you coming back for more.
 


 
Synchronize Watches


Adventures offers four main modes: Adventure mode, Free Play, Online Play and Timed Play. Over all four of these modes, you will play the same five mini-games over and over again, but there are so many different maps and variations, that it doesn't start to feel repetitive until after a few hours of continuous play.

Free Play allows you to pick and choose from the various activities. There are five: Rallyball, a volleyball/bowling combo where you bounce balls off the walls of a glass cage to break boxes and hit targets; River Rush, a rafting game where you pilot a raft down a rushing river to collect coins; Reflex Ridge, a complicated obstacle course where you jump, duck and avoid objects in your path to collect coins; Space Pop, where you float in a "space room" and pop water bubbles that appear above you, in front of you and behind you; and 20,000 leaks, where evil fish swim up to the glass diving bell you're in, creating cracks that you have to plug using every part of your body.

The most important thing about all of these games is that they offer something different and fun. There's an impressive attention to detail that permeates the entire game, from the soundtrack, to the presentation, to the mechanics. No stone was left unturned while developing Kinect Adventures. Oh, and it works. Did I mention that everything works just like it's supposed to? Yes, it does. The Kinect is extremely responsive and Adventures is a wonderful example of the fun you can have with Kinect.

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Let's Go On An Adventure!

Adventure mode is the campaign mode (I use that term kind of loosely. It is a collection of mini-games after all.), where you play through a set of mini-games to get your Adventure badge. You, as your Xbox LIVE avatar, play as a member of the Kinect Adventure Team. There's even a uniform and you can collect "Adventure Gear" to add to it as you complete challenges. It might seem silly, but it really makes you feel like you have a sense of purpose and are not just playing a series of games. There are also different levels of difficulty that add to the experience and make the game more replayable than you might think.

The highlight of finishing adventures is recording Living Statutes. They're a little hard to explain, but at the end of certain adventures, your reward is a video that you get to record with your voice and movement. Each one features a cartoon character on screen that you get to animate and give life to with your voice. Also, while you're competing in the games, Adventures will take your picture and save them to your hard drive. Both the living statues and the pictures taken during the game can be uploaded to KinectShare.com. From that site, you can send them to friends and even post them to your Facebook.

Kinect Adventures

Takes Two To Explore The World

One of the most impressive aspects of Adventures is the drop in/drop out player functionality the game offers. You can start an activity on your own, but if you want to add another player, all they have to do is step into the play space. There's no calibration needed, there's no backing out to the menu, no, all they have to do is take a step in front of Kinect. The game will read them as an active player and put them right into the action.

Being able to bring a friend so easily along for the ride is a major plus. While the mini-games can get a little repetitive after awhile (thought they are still fun by nature), adding different friends to the mix will make it a different experience each time.

Really, the only knock against Adventures is that it is obviously aimed at kids and tweens. There are wonderful parental controls included, to allow parents to limit their kids interactions online, but not totally squash them. To me, the fact that it's aimed at kids is not a bad thing, but it's probably not going to appeal to everyone; however, you cannot ignore the amount of detail put into Adventures and what a fun atmosphere it creates.

Kinect Adventures

Recording My Final Living Statue

It was brilliant for Microsoft to not only pair Kinect with a non-sports title, but to include one that was so wonderfully done. To be quite honest, Adventures could have very easily been a throwaway title, but the care and consideration that went into the game is really kind of heartwarming and it doesn't hurt that the gameplay is addictively fun, either.