Last time we visited the free to download Kinect Fun Labs we were left feeling more than a little disappointed. Although the presentation of the gadgets it contains was imaginative in places, you’d have to be a special case to want to play around with any of them for longer than ten minutes.
Since then some extra gadgets have appeared.
Air Band sounds promising initially, but it has as much in common with the likes of Rock Band and Guitar Hero as a potato has. Pretend to play a guitar, drum kit or electric piano and the respective instrument appears in your hands on the screen. A bit like those annoying Talk Talk adverts that they show between advert breaks during the X-Factor. The rhythm of the music will change accordingly and that’s about it, really. Pointless.
Mutation Station offers a little more longevity, but we’re talking literally minutes here. It’s like messing around with the mirrors found inside a fun house that alter your refection, making you appear to be super slim or have a head the size of a walnut. The developers have decided to style the menus around a science lab instead of a fun house though. You can upload photos and videos onto Kinect Share for others to see, although this isn’t a feature unique to Mutation Station – all of the Fun Labs gadgets have this facility.
But what’s this? Battle Stuff is actually quite good. A sort of modern day version of the Barcode Battler only you scan objects in and let them fight. It’s the best gadget yet as it’s the first piece of Fun Labs software that features ‘gameplay’ (for want of a better word). The fights uses a ‘rock, paper, scissors’ system in which you’re asked to either attack, guard or grab by moving your body accordingly. Guard beats attack, grab beats guard and if both fighters pick the same move a tie-breaker takes place. Scanned objects are rendered with tiny little blocks that shatter all over the canvas when you take a hit – by the end of a fight both fighters stand a crumbling wreck.
We’re quite impressed with how Battle Stuff has turned out considering it’s a freebie. We would have liked it even more though if a random move was chosen when the Kinect can’t work out what pose you’re making, instead of letting you stand there and be beaten to a pulp of pixels.