It would be impossible for us to review Kinect Fun Labs – it’s merely a hub to download gadgets (as Microsoft call them) for Kinect. And it would be impossible for us to review those gadgets too, as the four available in no way resemble a conventional game. They do though, rather oddly, have achievements to unlock.
You have to wonder if Kinect Googly Eyes is a joke in Rare’s direction – back in the N64 era they went through a phase of sticking eyes on something and passing it off as a new character. Conker’s Bad Fur Day was the worst for this – just about everything had eyes on and talked, from paint pots to pitch forks. Presentation on this gadget is rather pleasing – a jaunty musical score plays in the background complete with some amusing lyrics. All it boils down to though is holding an object in front of the Kinect for it to photograph, and then deciding on the placement of a pair of googly eyes. You can then jump around to animate your new creation and, as per the other available gadgets, post videos and photos for friends to view.
Bobble Head is similarly shallow. Here your face is scanned and pasted onto a bobble head on a car dashboard. You can choose different costumes and stuff, but because you’re given a shaven head every time, the end product never really resembles yourself. It speaks volumes that the best bit is being able to slap yourself around the face.
It’s not all gloom, fortunately – Build A Buddy is mildly amusing and nicely presented. Much like Kinect Googly Eyes, after holding something up to the camera it then comes alive via some technical jiggery pokery. I grabbed the nearest thing (a sofa cushion) and after a few seconds it was bouncing around on my TV like a mad thing. You’re able to choose a personality and record a few speech samples in order to give it commands to perform tricks. Out of the four gadgets currently available this is the one I spent the most time with, changing the personalities for each new creation to witness the results.
Then we have the fashion show gadget Kinect Me. After spreading your arms and legs out a photo is taken and used to create a 3D avatar. You can then select backdrops and pull off poses for photos and stuff. Like Bobble Head there’s no way to choose a hairstyle (other than a pony tail) so don’t expect to see a mirror image of yourself inside your telebox.
If developers can get some simple but addictive games on here then Kinect Fun Labs could be an essential download for Kinect owners. Sadly, the fact that the next gadget due out is the self-explanatory Kinect Sparklers doesn’t really fill us with confidence for the future.