Xbox Kinect Reviews: Revolutionary Movement

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Kinect for Xbox 360 is now upon us, with thousands of midnight launch events across the country ushering in a new way of playing games throughout the country. If you don't know anything about Kinect, it is a 3D camera and sensor that hooks up to an Xbox 360 video game console, giving Kinect games the ability to actually track your movement without the need for any remote or controller at all.

We have been playing with Kinect for a couple of weeks now, and we can tell you that it definitely works! Almost instantly, it shows how Nintendo Wii is getting long in the tooth while it makes Sony's PlayStation Move look like a huge misstep. It feels like something out of a science-fiction movie, with the Kinect not only tracking your head, body and hands, but also recognizing your face when you step in front of the camera.

Games.com has been fortunate enough to play several of the games now available on Kinect, so just click the button below for reviews of six of the hottest games for Kinect.


Kinect Adventure
free, included with Xbox Kinect

Every Kinect comes with a free game, Kinect Adventures, that allows you to test out the motion control in a variety of games. Games include Rallyball, which has you kicking rubber balls off a wall full of targets as quickly as possible, and River Rush, which lands you in the middle of the rapids where you have to lean and jump to grab a ton of different medallions. Kinect Adventures is the perfect game to include with the camera as it's a lot of fun for one or two players, and the variety and challenge will keep you coming back.


Kinect Sports
$49.99 for Xbox Kinect

If there's a game to get with your Kinect, it's Kinect Sports. By now, everyone has played Wii Sports, and Kinect Sports just takes it to the next level. Games like bowling, table tennis, volleyball, soccer and more appear in this compilation for single or multiple players. Kinect really shows off with this game because, instead of waggling a remote control to hit a ball, you actually have to make the motion of the hit -- there's no way to cheat the system!

For example, when playing table tennis, Kinect is so responsive that you can put a top spin or back spin on the ball with just the flick of your wrist. With volleyball, you will find yourself jumping to spike the ball down. And bowling requires perfect form and lining up your body in just the right way. Extremely impressive and tons of fun, Kinect Sports is a must-have.


Dance Central
$49.99 for Xbox Kinect

The folks behind the critically-acclaimed Rock Band games offer up their take on dancing with Dance Central. Rather than a soundtrack full of rock and metal, Dance Central has current and old school dance hits that are sure to be familiar to anyone who's listened to the radio in the past couple of decades. Songs from Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" to Wreckx-n-Effect's "Rump Shaker" make for a great contrast from the usual music-based games.

Unlike other games, Dance Central is all about your ability to dance, and it is unlike anything you've ever played before. Kinect works wonders here to track how your body moves to the beat to stay on top of the variety of dance moves they throw at you. It takes some getting used to, especially if you've never tried Soulja Boy's famous "Crank That", but once you get the hang of it and see how responsive the system is, you'll never go back to another motion control system.


Kinect Joy Ride
$49.99 for Xbox Kinect

What's a console launch without a realy cool racing game? Kinect Joy Ride fills in that need for speed with a game that must be played to be believed. In Kinect Joy Ride, the point of the game is to just race to the finish line against another opponent, opponents over Xbox Live, or against the computer. While there are no gas pedals or brakes of any kind, there is something revolutionary about just holding your hands out in front of you like you're grabbing an imaginary steering wheel, with the system tracking your every move.

Along the way, you'll hit huge ramps that will launch you into the air, which then gives you a chance to perform different stunts by spinning in place, leaning back or pushing forward. At the end of every race (and much like the other Kinect games we tried), you'll be treated to several pictures the Kinect takes of you in various poses, making for a good laugh. Not the deepest of racers, but a ton of fun.


Kinectimals
$49.99 for Xbox Kinect

If you have kids, Kinectimals is a must-have. Kinectimals puts you in the position of a pet owner, but instead of a regular cat or dog, you have your choice of a number of exotic wild felines, from panthers to bengal tigers. The Kinect camera tracks your movements, and your connection with this virtual pet is solid from the get go as you use your hands to stroke your new friend's head, body and tail, making for an experience that is unlike any other.

As you get to know your pet, you'll teach them new tricks by mimicking those tricks by jumping, spinning or playing dead. For those of you who don't want to play dead, don't worry as the Kinect has voice recognition that works just as well. The game takes place on an island that will open up to you as you and your pet get to know each other, and mini-games appear throughout your adventure. This is absolutely perfect for any child, and even better is the limited edition version of the game that comes with a plush animal that can be scanned by the Kinect to unlock additional species and toys. Really amazing stuff.


Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
$49.99 for Xbox Kinect

Fitness gaming has become huge over the past few years, with games like Wii Fit and EA Active doing gangbusters sales. Kinect has a few fitness games out for launch, and we were able to try Your Shape: Fitness Evolved which is available now. The game jumps right in with the Kinect technology by offering a scan of your body, displaying the different measurements you have. Some data will have to be manually input like your age and weight, but overall it offers an impressive start.

Once you get into the menus, you'll see there are several options for the game, from yoga routines to one-on-one personal training. The game keeps track of your calories burned and how often you workout, but the most impressive part is how the game tracks the effectiveness of your workout. Rather than other fitness games, the Kinect allows Your Shape to tell you exactly how to hold your yoga pose or keep up with the trainer's rhythm. It is actually amazing to see the game realize your arms are dropping a little bit, and then telling you instantly to raise them a bit more. An absolute system seller for any fitness enthusiast.
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