I went on an adventure and all I got was this video game.
So you bought a Kinect. No one is going to shake your hand or applaud your consumerism. Sorry, gold stars aren't handed out for that sort of thing... yet. Still, that fancy camera had quite a steep purchase price, and luckily you got a game with it. You can probably wait a month or two before buying another game right? Wrong.
[image1]Kinect comes with Kinect Adventures, a bundle of different mini-games that encourage exaggerated movements and multiple players. Seriously, prepare to look like a complete idiot, jumping around, flapping your wings, posing, and shuffling. The five mini-games included - Rallyball, River Rush, Reflex Ridge, Space Pop, and 20,000 Leaks - are entertaining at first, but quickly turn into less than exhilarating motion games.
Despite this, Kinect Adventures will definitely be one of the first games you put in when your friends come over to check out Kinect. Gameplay easily switches from one to two players in each mini-game. The soundtrack and general spirit of Kinect Adventures encourages people to try out controlling games with their body. Most encouraging of all, each game makes it look like the player is having a ton of fun, even though a handful of hours actually playing the game will quickly wipe away that facade.
The best of these mini-games is the oft-demoed Rallyball. Mom and Dad might recognize Rallyball to be a three-dimensional game of Breakout using your body. The object of the game is to clear all of the blocks. Adding to the chaos and flailing of body parts are special tokens that multiply the number of balls on screen. Keeping this balls in play will clear the level faster, but doing so is often easier said than done.
Following closely behind in fun-quotient is Reflex Ridge, which places players on a track and throws several different obstacles in the way. As you collect "Adventure Pins", the game's currency of collectible points, you'll be challenged to jump over, duck under, and sidestep obstacles. Some Adventure Pins are in formations that'll require the player to pose. The trouble with Reflex Ridge is that it highlights the lag between the players movements and the on-screen action. This is especially apparent in jumping over obstacles. Kinect Adventures tries to balance against this lag by speeding the platform on the track up when the player jumps, but you'll more often than not miscalculate the timing.
[image2]River Rush is another widely seen mini-game present in Kinect Adventures. All that communicating the demonstrators had to do on stage at E3 was surprisingly accurate. If you're playing River Rush with another person, things can devolve quickly into a game of tug of war when it comes time to decide which path to take. It may be more fun to play with another person, but Kinect Adventures doesn't allow you to push your partner out of the boat when navigation turns into an argument.
Space Pop and 20,000 Leaks are both boring as hell. Space Pop challenges the player to pop as many bubbles as they can by navigating the space in front of Kinect unit. 20,000 Leaks puts you deep underwater where all the fish kill you for invading their territory. As the aquatic life tries to drown you by puncturing your deep sea vessel, you've got to do your best little dutch boy impression to stop the leaks.
It's not that anything in Kinect Adventures is exceptionally bad. In fact, the games are great introductions to the technology, making it a decent pack in. Despite this, on its own, Kinect Adventures wouldn't be a worthwhile addition to your gaming library. It was nice of Microsoft to throw Kinect buyers a bone, but you'll be left wishing there was more meat on it. But at least it's free!