Tagged "Kinect"

Dec 09
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

A can of imitation Red Bull and a packet of fizzy sweets lead to us starting a daft topic on Twitter – fake achievements for the very real Twister Mania for Kinect. Behold our sugar rush induced musings:

  • Got off the sofa! (North America only) – 15G
  • Don’t guff in your girlfriend’s face – 30G
  • Arouse a member of the same sex – 50G
  • Undo a female player’s bra without her noticing – 100G
  • Start a small fire – 30G
  • Accidentally discover where your Aunty buys her underwear from – 5G

A few fellow followers then decided to join in with our tomfoolery:

  • “Accidentally brush something. On purpose – 25G”
  • “Explain to your friends why you bought Twister Mania – 100G”
  • “Play Twister Mania with someone in a wheelchair without having them out of their chair and complete the game – 200G”
  • “Avoid eye contact with the anus of an opponent – 5G”
  • “Suggest a game of Twister Mania to your friends. While sober – 2000G”
  • “Thank you for playing! Purchase the game – 200G”

And the winner of the “not quite sure he understood the gist of the conversation” award is…

  • “Complete skyrim with your left hand on green, right hand on blue, and both feet on Nan’s head – 10G”

On closer inspection though, it would appear that Twister Mania has more in common with Hole in the Wall than the tendon-twisting party game we all know and love. How very odd.

Nov 30
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

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.

Nov 25
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

Just think – in an alternative reality Winter Stars could be a game based on the stars we see on TV over the festive period. Gene Wilder as the original Willy Wonka, Sean Connery in one of the old James Bond films and Home Alone’s Macaulay Culkin. Maybe also The Queen, if you can count her majesty as a celebrity. I suppose she is, in a strange way.

In this reality though Winter Stars is a collection of 11 winter sporting events. Developers 49Games have made a few winter sports packages in the past, but this is the first that has been made with the Kinect in mind. The menus are stylish and easy to navigate and a plot, complete with cut-scenes, holds it all together. At the start of the incredibly long lasting career mode your team of athletes stands at just three but as the story progresses more sports stars join your team, and thus new events become available. A lot of the new faces defect from another manager who forces his stars to resort to unfair play while another comes from a sponsorship deal from an energy drink company. The voice-acting isn’t up to much but the presence of a story does help drawn you into the proceedings.

When playing for the first time you’re asked if you want to activate family mode. Family mode simplifies the controls, right to the point where you don’t even have to worry about manoeuvring while snowboarding or skiing. Instead, all that’s requested is that you copy the poses at the bottom of the screen when prompted. In events like paraskiing and the biathlon (which involves a target range) you aren’t given your first pose to copy until about thirty seconds in which makes you feel more like a spectator than a player. In other events though, such as figure skating, family mode makes the game a lot easier and enjoyable to play.

The entire game can’t be played in family mode – when trying a challenge you’re handed back full control. Snowboarding and skiing work brilliantly with the Kinect and paraskiing (skiing with a parachute strapped to your back) is good fun, even though tricks in this event are performed automatically.

Curling is slightly laborious – to speed up your opponent’s turn you have to hold your arm out to one side. Cue one tired arm. Fortunately curling doesn’t become available in the career mode until around four hours in, so it’s not like it’s forced upon you right from the start. Bobsleigh is certainly fast but it doesn’t boil down to much – running on the spot to get a good start then gently moving left and right to stick to the racing line.

The career mode is set on a branching path so you can pick and choose what events to partake. The difficulty curve is well judged – challenges start out easy but then get progressively tougher. Winning events awards XP that can be used to buy new equipment and upgrade skills, with extra XP awarded for things like not shoving rivals out of the way and for getting off the starting grids smoothly.

There’s also an online mode, complete with leaderboards, and a local multiplayer mode.

Coming from a small developer, Winter Stars is a pleasingly polished package. Visually it is easy going on the eyes, with some charming snowscapes, and with a career mode that’ll take weeks to finish a little bit of love for it will go a long way.

You do though need to take the rough with the smooth and considering half the events are on the dull side there is a lot of rough to contend with.

Nov 03
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

So here it is, Sony’s big Christmas game – Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Reviews have so far included 9 from EDGE, a 10 from Destructoid and 5/5 from The Guardian. Eurogamer caused a little bit of a fuss on the internet by giving it an 8 – they found it a little bit “narrow”. The lead designer discussed their review, agreeing with some points but not others. It’s quite a good read.

Sonic Generations is another likely to do well over the festive period. The 3DS version has slipped until the end of the month but it’s still out on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC this week. The PC version is curiously cheap online, while Zavvi are offering it with the excellent Sega Mega Drive Collection for £35.85. A return to form, it would seem, but it’s not quite perfect. Eurogamer found the controls a bit laggy when giving the PlayStation 3 version a reviewing. Give the demo a go if you want to make your own mind up.

The 3DS does get BlazBlue Continuum Shift II this week though, which is better than nothing at all.

Speaking of control problems, Go Vacation on Wii has had two years in development and has some very nice visuals for the ageing system but according to NGamer a broken control system means Namco’s good work has pretty much gone to waste. The Wii gets a trio of budget games this week too – Bermuda Triangle, The Crown Of Midas, and Get Up & Dance (also on PlayStation 3).

Although we’re glad that Rising Star has picked up 2D shooter DoDonPachi Resurrection for a European release we’re a little miffed at the £24.99 price tag. Deathsmiles could be pre-ordered for as little as £14.99 when that was released earlier this year, and it included DLC at no extra cost. £24.99 is still far cheaper than buying it on import, we suppose.

Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten on PlayStation 3 is another Japanese gem that’ll probably review well but not sell too terrifically.

Another two for Kinect are hitting stores – Blackwater and Raving Rabbids Alive and Kicking. The only review in for the latter is courtesy of Gaming XP. They said the graphics are a mixed bag and not much effort has been put into the sound but the motion controls work well. 505 Games’ Blackwater is one that piques our interests – it’s a light gun shooter minus the light gun, pretty much. Reviews have been very mixed, however – everything from a 7/10 from the Official Xbox Magazine to a 1/10 from Games Radar.

505 Games are also releasing Grease on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. There’s a demo available, amazingly.

With Battlefield 3 now out and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 out next week we were expecting reviews for GoldenEye 007: Reloaded to be a little bit middling. It is little more than a tarted up conversion of a year old Wii game, after all. Surprisingly though reviews have been pretty good. IGN gave the Xbox 360 version 8.5, praising the multi-player and GameSpot UK gave it an 8 calling it “fast and exciting”.

Finally, there’s Generator Rex: Agent of Providence on just about everything. It’s based on a cartoon similar to Ben 10, and I think that’s all you need to know.

Next week: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (PS3, 360, Wii, PC, DS), The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PS3, 360, PC), Shinobi (3DS), Big League Sports (360), Cars 2 (3DS), Cave Story (3DS), Deepak Chopra’s Leela (360, Wii), EyePet & Friends (PS3), Jillian Michael’s Fitness Experience (360), Jungle Kartz (Wii), Michael Jackson: The Experience 3D (3DS), Monster High: Ghoul Spirit (Wii, DS), Moshi Monsters: Moshlings Zoo (DS), Move Mind Benders (PS3), My Self Defence Coach (360), Puppies World 3D (3DS), Puzzler Mind Gym 3D (3DS), SpongeBob’s Surf and Skate Roadtrip (360, DS), The Black Eyed Peas Experience (360, Wii), The Ultimate Battle of the Sexes (360, PS3), Top Model Academy (DS), Youda Legend 2: Golden Bird (DS), Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 (360) and Zoo Resort 3D (3DS).

Oct 13
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

You have to laugh – Capcom are charging £14.99 for downloads of their old Resident Evil titles, yet online retailers are asking a mere £17.99 for retail release Dead Rising: Off The Record. It’s not an entirely new game, but there’s a good 15 hours of play at hand along with a new theme park area and the chance to play as photographer Frank West. Xbox World magazine gave it an 8.0, claiming it to be a good place for Dead Rising newcomers to start. They said that the long loading times have been fixed and there are now more zombies on screen then ever before. Eurogamer weren’t that keen on it though, giving it a 6.

Whereas FIFA 12 has been getting 9s almost across the board, Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 has been getting a steady string of 8s. A decent alternative to EA’s offering it would seem, but not quite as polished. You’ll easily be able to tell which of your friends owns a copy – one new feature for this year is Facebook stat tracking. Joy.

Likewise to Dark Souls, early purchasers of Namco’s Ace Combat: Assault Horizon get a upgrade to first class for free. Or rather, they get the limited edition set for the same price as the standard. This limited edition pack sounds different to most – it comes with a notebook signed by the developers, along with a music CD and an extra craft to download. Review scores have mostly been 8/10s and there’s a demo now available so you can try before buying.

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure is a curious one. It’s yet another reboot for the purple dragon, but this is the most ambitious yet – it comes with action figures and a device that’s used to scan extra characters into the game. The character design meanwhile has been handled by a designer from the Shrek movies, with Spyro himself looking more psychotic than usual. It’s out on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii and 3DS. The 3DS version could have potentially used AR cards for the scanning of extra characters, but we assume Activision are able to make more money off the back of the additional action figures. Activision are also unleashing Spider-Man: Edge of Time on all formats this week. It can’t be any worse than X-Men Destiny.

Microsoft are publishing two Xbox 360 titles – Kinectimals: Now with Bears and Forza Motorsport 4. Kinectimals isn’t a new game; if you own the original you can get the new critters as DLC. Oddly, the original suggested that it was canines to be on the agenda next. Forza 4 scored a 9 on Eurogamer. They didn’t think much of the AI and said that the Top Gear track is a little misappropriate but they still went on to say that “Forza has always been a series to admire, but now it’s a little easier to fall in love with it too.”

Contrary to popular beliefs, the Just Dance series is far from awful – Just Dance 2 has a Metacritic of 74%. Just Dance 3 – for Wii and Kinect – doesn’t appear to be any worse, or indeed better, with reviews including a 7/10 from GamesRadar. Dance Central 2 is out next week though, so it might be an idea to hold on for that. If singing is more of your thing, X-Factor also hits PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii this week.

This leaves us with Michael Phelps: Push the Limit from 505 Games. It’s another for Kinect, and one that could be a good way to shift those bingo wings, featuring both local and online multi-player modes. There’s a video here if you’re curious about splashing the cash.

Next week: Batman: Arkham City (PS3, 360, PC), Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact (PSP), The Adventures of TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn (PS3, 360, Wii, 3DS), Captain America: Super Soldier (3DS), Dance Central 2 (360) and Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One (PS3).

Sep 12
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

With so many new releases out last week, there was no way that this week’s UK chart was going to be a dull one. And it isn’t.

Even with mixed reviews – everything from a 3/10 in EDGE to 8.0 from IGN – Dead Island manages to take the top spot. Below that at #2 there’s the TV-advertised Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, which has managed to do better than the PS3-exclusive Resistance 3 in at #4, with Driver: San Francisco at #3.

Star Fox 64 3D barrel rolls in at a respectable #9, disproving the fact that the system hasn’t got a hope in hell.

NHL 12 slides in at a surprisingly high #12, but the last new entry in the chart hasn’t done so well – it’s Sega’s Rise of Nightmares at #37. That has still sold better than El Shaddai has though, which makes #27 in the PlayStation 3 chart and #37 in the Xbox 360 chart. Perhaps releasing it against a swarm of anticipated shooters wasn’t the best idea.

Sep 08
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Our cynical side told us to be wary of Dead Island. The trailer caused a lot of excitement on the ‘net but fancy CGI alone isn’t enough to distract from the fact that it’s by the developers behind Call of Juarez – a series that hardly has a glowing reputation. Were we right to be wary? Yes and no. General opinion seems to be that it’s an entertaining game but incredibly rough around the edges with a shoddy graphics engine and some strange glitches. It’s certainly a big game though – both Eurogamer and IGN said it took them around 25 hours to finish. Eurogamer gave it a 6 while IGN an 8.0. EDGE wasn’t quite able to look past the glitches though – they gave it a 3/10. “An additional quirk sees everyone refer to your character as ‘him’ – even if you play as a woman” they said.

If you’re more into sci-fi than zombies, this week also sees the release of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine and Resistance 3. If you’re thinking that Space Marine is a Gears of War clone you’re wrong. Not just because Space Marine did chainsaw bayonets and bulky body armour way before Gears of War but because it plays differently with no cover system and a bigger focus on hacking and slashing. Reviews so far include 6/10 from Eurogamer. With heavy promotion behind it – including trailers in the cinema – THQ clearly has high hopes.

Resistance 3 is guaranteed to do well though, thanks to the series’ cult following and strong reviews. Eurogamer said it’s a single player game foremost with the multi-player modes (including two player co-op) taking a back seat. They found the multi-player mode a bit frustrating – when you start out you only have a basic arsenal, compared to players who have clocked up the hours and unlocked weapons that can fire through walls and whatnot.

Hard to believe, but Star Fox 64 3D is only the fifth 3DS game to be published by Nintendo. Third parties complained that only Nintendo’s software sells well on Nintendo formats, so they stepped aside. I bet they’re regretting that decision now after the likes of Konami and Namco delayed their 3DS titles due to poor console sales. It’s a real ‘catch 22’ for both Nintendo and publishers. I digress, sorry. The Official Nintendo magazine gave this remake an eyebrow raising high 94% while NGamer Magazine gave it a much more realistic sounding 87%. EDGE enjoyed it too and gave it an 8. NGamer said the visuals are a little scrappy in places but the Star Fox magic shines through. “They don’t make games like this any more; they remake them,” they said. Nintendo are also publishing Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident on Wii this week, which is aimed at the casual market.

Also out are Rise of Nightmares, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron and Monkey Island Special Edition Collection. Rise of Nightmares is a Kinect-exclusive from Sega that has been getting good early reviews including a B+ from Gaming Age. El Shaddai: Ascension is another that’s been given the thumbs up, with praise being given to the artistic direction and an novel combat system that involves stealing enemies’ weapons, purifiying them, and using them against them. There’s a demo on Xbox Live if you’re curious. Monkey Island Special Edition Collection meanwhile contains Money Island and its sequel plus codes to download avatar items. You should be able to find it for under £15 online at places like Zavvi.

Next week: The Gunstringer (360), Splinter Cell Trilogy HD (PS3), Bleach: Soul Resurrección (PS3), Heroes of Hellas 2 Olympia (DS), Mahjong 300 (DS), Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension (PS3, Wii, DS) and Puzzler Triple Pack (DS).

Aug 11
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

You don’t need me to tell you that Pheasants Forever is a hunting game. And as you may have guessed, it’s for Wii. But what a strange name to call a game – if people hunted pheasants forever then there will be none left. I suppose though they couldn’t have called it Pheasant Slaughter Sim. If it’s any better than Duck Hunt on the NES I will be very surprised, and if review copies have been sent to press I’d be even more so.

If you feel that fruit needs to be punished rather than pheasants, there’s Fruit Ninja Kinect on Xbox Live Arcade. It got an 8/10 in 360 Gamer magazine – “It is what it is” they said. A simple game done well, in other words. It’s a greatly improved version, or rather a totally new version, of the popular iOS game. If you can wait a while it’s also going to be bundled on the same disk as The Gunstringer, which was once due on Xbox Live Arcade but is now a retail release.

As per the usual, there are a couple of seemingly random DS games out this week too. Mystery Tales Part 2 and 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven, to be precise. We all remember the classic that was the original Mystery Tales, don’t we? Yep. 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven appears to be the sequel to 7 Wonders II but by going by the boxart and product descriptions the differences between the two sound rather minimal.

Next week: Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii), Toy Soldiers: Cold War (XBLA), Arcana Heart 3 (PS3, 360), Country Dance (Wii), Farm Frenzy 3 (DS), Timmy Time (DS) and Youda Legend: Amsterdam Diamond (DS).

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