Kinect 2015: Attack Of The Indies!

As far as big developer Kinect games go 2015 was a huge disappointment for Kinect fans unfortunately. EA inexplicably dropped Kinect 2 support from its golf game before it was released and Microsoft themselves released NO new Kinect games, other than DLC workouts for Xbox Fitness. Plus to add insult to injury they also removed Kinect gestures from the new dashboard and delayed Cortana until next year! (Fortunately voice commands still work on the dashboard though.) The only big company that released any full Kinect games was Ubisoft, who released both Just Dance 2016 (along with the Just Dance Unlimited subcription service for the Xbox One version) and Just Dance: Disney Party 2 for not only Kinect 2 but also Kinect 1 as well, so at least Kinect fans who have still only got an Xbox 360 had a couple of new Kinect games to play this year, if they like dancing games that is.

However, 2015 wasn’t actually a total loss for non-dancing Kinect fans though, as long as you own Xbox One that is, since a number of independent developers released a few Kinect 2 ID@Xbox games last year. They may not have had the amazing graphics or large amount of content of big developer games, but then they cost a fraction of the price and at least they were pretty good games on the whole. What is also impressive about them is that most of them are from developers who have never made a Kinect game before, some of them are from developers who have never made a console game before and a couple of them are from developers who have never even made a videogame before!

The video above is a megatrailer of all 2015’s ID@Xbox games for Kinect 2 in action. Here are the timestamps for each game in the video along with an alphabetical list with more details about and opinions on each game, plus You can click on the image or title of each game to go to the game’s 123KINECT page for all its articles with even more info and you can click on the price to go to the game’s page on the Xbox Games Store to buy the game.

00:00Intro
01:54Beatsplosion For Kinect
03:08Blue Estate
04:26Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey
05:40Draw A Stickman: EPIC
06:47Fruit Ninja Kinect 2
07:16Q (A puzzle game.)
07:52Slice Zombies For Kinect
08:54Kinect Bundle – Boom Ball For Kinect (Also available separately since 2014.)
09:53Kinect Bundle – Squid Hero For Kinect (Also available separately.)

 

BEATSPLOSION FOR KINECT

(Xbox One. EXCLUSIVE.)

(Developer: Virtual Air Guitar Company. Publisher: Virtual Air Guitar Company via ID@Xbox.)

Beatsplosion For Kinect featured

OVERVIEW

Beatsplosion uses Kinect for Xbox One to transport players into the crazy world of subatomic particles in search of a Unified Field Theory – by smashing everything into smithereens. Players will punch particles, dodge walls and jump over obstacles, all to the beat of music.

Earn higher skill belts to unlock new levels that challenge your rhythm and coordination. Get your sweat on as the tempo increases, and pit yourself against the epic black belt challenge at a blazing speed of 200 bpm! Get up and make stuff ‘splode!

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Mandatory full Kinect 2 controls: Full-body-tracking motion controls. Players use their hands to aim and punch and the rest of their body to dodge and jump.

RELEASE DATE: December 30th 2015

PRICE: £9.99 (UK) / €12.99 (EU) / $12.99 (US)

MY OPINION

This list is alphabetical so although Beatsplosion For Kinect is the first game on the list it’s actually the last game of 2015 and although it’s also the first Virtual Air Guitar Company’s game on the list it’s actually the second Kinect 2 game they released this year and the third Kinect 2 game they’ve released overall for Xbox One, meaning they’ve actually released just as many Kinect 2 games as Microsoft themselves! (If you count Xbox Fitness as one game rather than each workout DLC separately.) Unfortunately I can’t give much of an opinion on Beatsplosion For Kinect because I have only played the tutorial and first level of Beatsplosion For Kinect so far as it’s very energetic and it wiped me out due to my medical condition. But I will say that what little I played I had fun with and the Kinect controls are fast and accurate. It took me a couple of goes of the tutorial to get the hang of it since you have to be very accurate with both the aiming and timing of your punches, along with the dodging too.

I think people who like rhythm action games, beat-em-ups (although the “enemies” are just objects rather than people) and arcadey fitness games like Shape Up will probably like it. I advise checking out other reviews (from smaller independent websites, I have no idea how the big websites have reviewed it but we know they’re normally biased against Kinect games plus have been exposed by #GamerGate as corrupt anyway!) to find out if its good or not as I honestly can’t judge the game based on the short amount I’ve played so far. However, the reviews of it I’ve seen so far are positive and it has been getting 7s and 8s out of 10. (Or 4/5, which is the same as 8/10.)

 

 

BLUE ESTATE

(Xbox One.)

(Developer: HESAW. Publisher: HESAW via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

Blue Estate is a darkly funny on-rails shooter !

Designed from the ground up to exploit the features of the new Kinect sensor on Xbox One, Blue Estate offers slick wit and punishing violence through a genuinely fun and intuitive control system, all set in an eye-popping technicolor mob world.

While experiencing the smoothness of motion control in a rail shooter, using the unique motion sensors capabilities of the  Xbox One, the player will enter a fight for his life against the most absurd and dangerous enemies, ranging from scar covered fight-to-the-death champions to Tony’s own hair and Chihuahuas that are too happy to see you. You’re given a series of primary and secondary weapons to help make your way through the load of hilariously perilous missions. These will come in handy defeating the bosses who’ll try to end your game and your life. But sometimes firepower isn’t enough, so think before shooting and use cover to prepare your strategy, reload often, and try not to get turned into grated cheese.

A killing spree is always better when shared, and that’s why Blue Estate offers the opportunity for a second player to join the fun, through a cooperative mode where every headshot counts to show who’s the best trigger in da house!

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional full Kinect 2 controls: Motion controls that track the player’s hands, one hand for aiming (with autofire) and the other hand for performing various gestures, including brushing the character’s hair out of their face!

RELEASE DATE: February 18th 2015

PRICE: £10.39 (UK) / €12.99 (EU) / $12.99 (US)

MY OPINION

I was a little disappointed that Blue Estate’s Kinect 2 controls aren’t quite as extensive as the Kinect for Xbox 360 game Blackwater (please make more games like that devs!) as they don’t use full body tracking to move around and the one feature from Blackwater I didn’t want, autofire, it does use. But, similar to Blackwater, the autofire isn’t like Kinect Sports Rivals’ Target Shooting where it’s just constantly firing, instead it fires a split-second after you’ve aimed the reticule on the enemy or object you’re aiming at, so you can aim accurately to get headshots for example. Although it’s easier for me to play with those simpler controls, due to my health, so maybe I should be more pleased with the limited motion controls outside of the aiming, lol!  Another criticism is that although there are lots of varied enemies and it gets hectic it could be even more dynamic with the screen moving around more during active gameplay (the parts where you’re actually shooting) and have big things attacking like vehicles, plus I’d like more bosses as there are only a few rather than one for each level for some reason. My final criticism is that the graphics are quite last-gen looking, but HESAW is an independent developer with a small team and this is their first videogame so I’ll let that slide.

Now that the negatives are out of the way I can say that Blue Estate is actually a great game, in fact one of the best Kinect games of 2015! I’m glad we’ve finally got a full-on lightgun-style game as we haven’t had any for so long (on Xbox consoles at least), especially in the UK where Cabela’s Big Game Hunting Party was never released for Kinect for Xbox 360. In fact there have been very few lightgun games on Xbox consoles for the last 10+ years! The Kinect controls are fast and accurate and there’s a lot going on in the gameplay. Plus it supports 2-player co-op! (Offline only though unfortunately.) I would say that Blue Estate is up there with games like the Virtua Cop and Time Crisis franchises, just lacking in some minor ways I mentioned above, however it’s got lots of added humour (almost fully voiced and often politically incorrect, so SJW “journalists” hate the game of course) that helps make up for the shortcomings along with being a couple of hours longer than those games usually are. So if you like rail shooters such as those then I’m sure you’ll love Blue Estate. Big thumbs up to HESAW on their first videogame and here’s hoping for either a sequel with more Kinect features or that there next game is also also a Kinect 2 game.

 

 

COMMANDER CHERRY’S PUZZLED JOURNEY

(Xbox One.)

(Developer: Grandé Games. Publisher: Grandé Games via ID@Xbox.)

Commander Cherrys Puzzled Journey IDatXbox Summer Spotlight featuredCommander Cherrys Puzzled Journey IDatXbox featured

OVERVIEW

Experience the world’s one and only Yoga-Action-Platformer. Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey is a hybrid-motion control game. This means you play the game using a camera and a gamepad simultaneously. The game flow offers a hypnotizing cycle of tension and relaxation. Build Platforms with your body. Enjoy precise platformer action using your gamepad. Simply put, make a selfie you can walk on with your character.

The game’s design fosters a natural course of movement. Move freely without being enforced to perform a specific gesture or pose. Play the game the way you want to. Standing, kneeling, sitting. The choice is yours. It’s all about getting creative with your body.

Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey also stands out with its relaxing atmosphere. Enjoy the beautifully low poly landscapes and spacy soundtracks during your adventure. All assets are handcrafted with love and attention to detail.

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Mandatory partial Kinect 2 controls: Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey is a hybrid Kinect 2 game, so the player controls Commander Cherry with the joypad and uses Kinect 2 to put images of themself making poses into the game as interactive physical objects via image capturing during gameplay in order to solve platforming puzzles.

RELEASE DATE: August 14th 2015

PRICE: £7.19 (UK) / €8.99 (EU) / $8.99 (US)

MY OPINION

Unfortunately I’ve only played a few levels of Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey so far due to my medical condition. I didn’t expect that just making poses would be so exhausting for me. So the difficulty of the game definitely depends on your fitness and health. I think if you do yoga you’ll be very good at this game! You’ll also need plenty of space and if you want to play it perfectly you’ll need a play space at least 6ft wide if not more and at least 6ft away from the sensor, although you don’t play that far away all the time as you’ll have to get closer to make your image larger to create big enough body-platforms in certain areas. My play space is slightly less than 6ft wide so it made some parts seemingly impossible for me to complete in one go.

Having said all that I have had fun playing the game and hope to play 2-player co-op sometime with me controlling Commander Cherry with the joypad and someone else making the poses. (And vice versa, if I’m well enough.) Unfortunately it’s not a separate mode and only one player can be signed-in so the second player can’t get any points or achievments so it’s just for fun. But I can see playing this way being both a lot of fun and very funny so it would be perfect for families and parties. In fact although it’s only 2 players at a time any amount of players can play really, as people can take turns making body-platforms, plus others can give suggestions from the sidelines. Overall I think Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey is quite an innovative use of Kinect 2 and like HESAW this is Grandé Games’ first ever videogame so I’ll give them a thumbs up for a good first effort too!

 

 

DRAW A STICKMAN: EPIC

(Xbox One. Console exclusive.)

(Developer: Hitcents. Publisher: Hitcents via ID@Xbox.)

Draw A Stickman EPIC IDatXbox featured

OVERVIEW

Use the power of Kinect in one of the most creative drawing puzzle games ever designed: Draw a Stickman: EPIC for Xbox One!  You are the artist as you draw with Kinect and create your Stickman.  Then open your hand, and watch your hero come alive in a storybook world!  With a few simple gestures, you can magically maneuver your Stickman through this amazing adventure.

Guide your hero on a dangerous journey while taking on unusual creatures such as dragons, zombies, and fire-breathing rocks.  Blast your Stickman out of a giant cannon!  Battle a villainous troll with dynamite!  With the power of Kinect, you can sketch and doodle your way through the obstacles that evil Zarp throws at you!

Use various pencils, strategies, and imagination to animate solutions to puzzles or obstacles!  Need to get past a pile of dynamite sticks? Use the flame pencil to doodle a fire and blow them up!  Bees in your way?  Use the cloud pencil to sketch some rain to grow a pollinated distraction!  There is plenty to do in the world of Draw a Stickman: EPIC for Xbox One!

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional partial Kinect 2 controls: Draw A Stickman: EPIC is (optionally) a hybrid Kinect 2 game, so the player controls the movement and basic actions of Stickman with the joypad and can use Kinect 2 for aiming where to draw using their finger and thumb in an L shape, drawing various objects and effects with their finger and thumb pinched together as if holding a pencil as well as activating their drawings by fully opening their hand with their palm facing forward.

RELEASE DATE: September 11th 2015

PRICE: £6.39 (UK) / €7.99 (EU) / $7.99 (US)

MY OPINION

Draw A Stickman: EPIC is a good game but the title is a little misleading as it’s not really epic because it’s actually quite short. It’s fun while it lasts though and the Kinect controls work pretty much perfectly, other than being quite laggy as the lag is around 330ms (around one third of a second), but it’s not really an issue since there are only a few instances that require fast reactions and even then the lag didn’t really cause a problem. So well done to Hitcents for getting the controls working so well in their first Kinect game! It’s also the first game they’ve released on a console.

I actually managed to write a full review of Draw A Stickman: EPIC, which you can read by clicking here. I gave it 7 out of 10 and definitely recommend it, especially since it’s now also got 10 more brand new levels of DLC for almost half the price of the game itself!

 

 

FRUIT NINJA KINECT 2

(Xbox One. Console exclusive.)

(Developer: Hibernum Creations. Publisher: Halfbrick Studios via ID@Xbox.)

Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 IDatXbox featured

OVERVIEW

The blades are drawn. The Dojo is silent. The juicer is plugged in. Join an all-new cast of awesome Fruit Ninja characters in the sequel to one of the biggest Kinect games of all time! Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 features all the content of the original hit game, plus five brand new modes to experience – all taking advantage of the next-gen precision of the Xbox One. The whole family can explore the Blueberry Moon festival, taking part in colorful challenges from the new Fruit Ninja team – Katsuro, Mari, Han and Nobu.

Each character hosts a unique game at the festival, where players can dodge speedy shurikens, hack through a forest of bamboo and become a stealth master – all while slicing fruit! Online leaderboards track the greatest players among your friends, and classic characters Sensei, Gutsu and Truffles will grant you awesome new upgrades as you continue your journey at the festival.

The brand new multiplayer modes allow four players to jump in on the action with exclusive Battle and Party game types, featuring unique mini-games for intense competition! This is the most satisfying and accessible party game ever created for all ages, shapes and sizes! The Fruit Ninja phenomenon continues into the next generation, and the Dojo is ready. You are the ninja!

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Mandatory full Kinect 2 controls: Full body tracking motion controls. (And possibly object tracking like the original Fruit Ninja Kinect.) The player’s hands (or held objects such as toy swords, if the feature is in this sequel too) are used to slice fruit and also throw kunai in some levels plus the player’s body is used to dodge shurikens and spotlights.

RELEASE DATE: March 18th 2015

PRICE: £11.99 (UK) / €14.99 (EU) / $14.99 (US)

MY OPINION

Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 is an excellent game! Although the Arcade, Classic and Zen modes in the Quickplay category seem to be pretty much the same as the original Fruit Ninja Kinect for Xbox 360 (the review for which you can read by clicking here), what makes this a worthy sequel is the addition of the Festival category which adds more “core” gameplay compared to Quickplay’s more “casual” gameplay.

There are 4 Festival modes and the first mode is Katsuro’s Ninja Dodge, in which you have to slice fruit whilst dodging shurikens. Points are deducted if a player is hit. This mode includes the high-speed “Copterfruit” which flies across the screen at unusual angles. This is my favourite mode, although it is quite exhausting!

The second Festival mode is Mari’s Strawberry Stealth, in which you have to avoid spotlights whilst slicing fruit. Players must dodge, duck, and weave to stay undetected. Points are deducted if any part of a player’s shadow is covered by light. Although this mode was pretty fun I would say Katsuro’s Ninja Dodge is even better.

The third Festival mode is Nobu’s Bamboo Strike, in which you have to slice seeds to prevent an outbreak of bamboo. Bamboo restricts vision, hinders access to fruit and can also trap bombs. Players must destroy the bamboo in order to clear the screen. This mode is basically a lot like Arcade mode, except I don’t think it has any banana power-ups from what I remember. (I can’t remember if any of the Festival modes have banana power-ups actually.)

The fourth and final Festival mode is Han’s Apple Range, in which you have to throw shurikens to destroy and pin fruit. Players earn 1 point for a standard hit and 5 points if they can pin fruit to a target. This mode is a lot of fun, although there is something slightly disappointing which is that you just have to aim and throw your hand forward to throw the kunai, there’s no open & closed hand detection which means you can’t open your hand at the point you want to throw the kunai so you can’t be quite as accurate as you’d like. It’s a fairly minor criticism but still surprising considering this is using Kinect 2.

Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 is a must have, especially for fans of the original!

 

 

Q

(Xbox One.)

(Developer: liica, inc. and OrangeBox Co., Ltd. Publisher: liica, inc. via ID@Xbox.)

Q IDatXbox featured

OVERVIEW

Are you capable of getting a ball out of a cup? If you are confident that you can, we challenge you. It may sound simple, but the truth couldn’t be further.

Take on the challenge by creating a solution on the screen to clear the Q. “Oh man, this is hard.” “The solution differs greatly from person to person.” ”Unique and multiple solutions!” “There are Q’s that even we developers cannot solve.” Interested? We challenge you to complete the Q. Our Q’s are so exciting, we promise to keep you engaged until you lose track of time.

Share your victory with the rest of the world.

Watching others play is just as fun. That is because the collective is surprisingly incapable of performing simple tasks. Get a group of friends together and give it a go.

Try to solve each task in as few attempts as possible.

You will be able to see how many people in the world have managed to solve each problem.

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional full Kinect 2 controls: The player’s hand is used to draw simple shapes, mainly just lines and dots, to solve puzzles.

RELEASE DATE: June 26th 2015.

PRICE: £4.79 (UK) / €5.99 (EU) / $5.99 (US) / ¥648 (JPN)

MY OPINION

Although Q is quite an innovative puzzle game, despite being incredibly simplistic, the Kinect controls aren’t as good as Draw A Stickman: EPIC’s unfortunately. For a start the Kinect controls seem to have been optimised for the game’s main play area during levels, so when you’re in the menus it’s a bit awkward getting the cursor to move to the bottom and sides of the screen. Even during levels it feels like it hasn’t been perfectly optimised as I found that if you want to draw from the bottom of the play area up it’s best to drop your hand with your fingers pointing down and your palm out then make a fist and pull it up to draw. If you just lower your hand with your fingers pointing up and your palm out then make a fist to draw the tracking can get a bit flakey.

The opening & closing hand tracking is occasionally a little flakey in general and I sometimes found my on-screen hand cursor closing and drawing when I was just moving my open hand around the screen, or opening and finishing the drawing while my hand was still closed. This could be due to my Kinect 2 positioning though, mine is above the TV at 6ft high, so others with their Kinect 2 lower might not have any of those issues. The drawing also didn’t seem quite as precise as it should be and possibly because of this I’m sure the lines are thicker than the mobile version, if you were to display the mobile version on a TV, which hinders some of the challenges. Plus you have to make fairly big hand movements that require arm movements to move the cursor around the screen, I would have preferred it if Q used finger tracking and/or you could just move your hand subtly to draw, like in Draw A Stickman: EPIC.

Although Q is liica, inc. and OrangeBox Co., Ltd.’s first Kinect game (and liica, inc.’s first console game) I can’t give them a thumbs up for it as I think the controls should have been better considering how simplistic it is. So I would recommend getting the mobile version instead as it’s better with the perfect controls of a touchscreen. If you haven’t got a mobile device or just really want to play it on the TV using Kinect 2 then I guess it’s worth getting on Xbox One as even with imperfect controls the game isn’t bad (just more frustrating) plus it’s pretty cheap. (Apparently you can also play it using a joypad, but I haven’t tried that.)

 

 

SLICE ZOMBIES FOR KINECT

(Xbox One. EXCLUSIVE.)

(Developer: MADE GmbH. Publisher: MADE GmbH via ID@Xbox.)

Slice Zombies For Kinect IDatXbox new logo featured

OVERVIEW

Slice Zombies for Kinect is the ultimate Kinect experience for your Xbox One.

Well, so the zombie apocalypse is long over and there are still thousands of zombies left. So what do we do with them now? It’s easy! Step in front of your Kinect motion sensor and use your hands to cut, grab and shoot zombies into little pieces.

Unlock funny zombie types like exploding zombies or time travelling zombies or Evil Zevel, a zombie equipped with a rocket pack flying across your TV.

Slice coins to unlock new items, backgrounds and walking hands that come with powerful special abilities.

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Mandatory full Kinect 2 controls: Full body tracking motion controls very similar to Fruit Ninja Kinect’s. The player’s hands are used to slice zombies and pick-ups, plus shooting by making a gun gesture when the assault rifle is collected.

RELEASE DATE: May 8th 2015

PRICE: £7.99 (UK) / €9.99 (EU) / $9.99 (US)

MY OPINION

Although Slice Zombies For Kinect looks very similar to Fruit Ninja Kinect it’s not a total rip-off and is a good game in its own right. For example the zombies have more character than fruit. I don’t just mean that they’re wearing costumes based on various famous characters from TV shows, movies and other videogames, some of them actually move around a bit more than just being thrown up in front of you like the fruit in Fruit Ninja Kinect. Whereas some are just thrown around others have different movements, for example flying across the screen on rocket packs dressed like Evel Knievel, teleporting in dressed like Doc Brown from Back To The Future and disembodied hands crawling around the screen like Thing from The Addams Family. Plus you can slice up the zombies in various ways and if you slice their heads first you get a “HEADSHOT!” bonus.

Plus you don’t just have zombies, you also have a few power-ups and lots of coins to slice. The coins give you money to buy various power-ups and backgrounds in the shop between levels. These power-ups and backgrounds, as well as various info screens, are unlocked by earning XP from slicing zombies, especially if you get combos by slicing more than one per slice, to level up the player plus when you complete game levels. Also, there often seems to be a lot more on screen than Fruit Ninja Kinect 1 or 2, mainly because of all the coins but there also seem to be more bombs. These extra bombs seem to make Slice Zombies For Kinect a lot more challenging than Fruit Ninja Kinect 1 or 2 as you have to be very careful when you’re slicing as if you just flail wildly you’re pretty much guaranteed to hit a bomb. If you hit 3 bombs, or miss 3 zombies and they fall off the bottom of the screen, then it’s game over and you have to restart the level. Since Slice Zombies For Kinect is so challenging, definitely requiring a fair bit of skill, it’s like a casual game for core gamers!

Unfortunately Slice Zombies For Kinect only has one mode, you just have to complete 21 levels by surviving for a certain amount of time each level. That sounds short, but I’m pretty sure you’re not going to complete the game in an hour or 2 due to it being quite challenging as I mentioned before. If you don’t survive a level you have to keep replaying it until you complete it to progress to the next one. Slice Zombies For Kinect is also only single player compared to both Fruit Ninja Kinect games that have 2 player modes and Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 has 4 player, although it’s only 2 players at a time and each duo take turns with the other duo. However Slice Zombies For Kinect is cheaper than Fruit Ninja Kinect 2, so that helps to make up for its shortcomings.

Overall Slice Zombies For Kinect is a fun game that I would recommend even if you have Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 due to being different enough. Well done to MADE GmbH considering it’s both their first Kinect 2 game and first console game, especially since they are just 2 guys! Also, although Slice Zombies For Kinect is based on the mobile version I’ve counted this as an Xbox One exclusive since this version is basically a sequel that has been totally created from the ground up for Xbox One.

 

 

SQUID HERO FOR KINECT

(& KINECT BUNDLE: SQUID HERO + BOOM BALL)

(Xbox One. EXCLUSIVE.)

(Developer: Virtual Air Guitar Company. Publisher: Virtual Air Guitar Company via ID@Xbox.)

Squid Hero For Kinect IDatXbox featured

OVERVIEW

Squid Hero For Kinect

Squid Hero saves the planet from a new ice age! Travel across the world on this cheery and colorful adventure for all ages, using the power of Kinect to smash thousands of encroaching chunks of ice.

Bring a friend or family member along! The whole game can be played in 2-player co-op mode. Switch at any time between levels!

Get up and play! It’s easy to start, but you’ll need to hone your physical skills throughout the campaign. Pit your dexterity against crazy turbo-speed races. Challenge your accuracy in tight rhythm sections. Weave your way through minefields, smash everything on screen in bonus sections, save hapless critters in the nick of time, and battle epic giant robot bosses!

Kinect Bundle Squid Hero Boom Ball IDatXbox featured

OVERVIEW

Kinect Bundle: Squid Hero + Boom Ball

Get up and play! This double fun bundle for all ages contains two active Kinect games from Virtual Air Guitar Company that are easy to learn but challenge your accuracy and dexterity with active, responsive and satisfying gameplay.

Squid Hero takes 1 or 2 players on a cheery and colorful arcade adventure, where you’ll smash ice cubes to save the world from a new ice age.

In Boom Ball, you get to hit balls, smash bricks and solve puzzles across 55 inventive levels.

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Mandatory full Kinect 2 controls: Full body tracking motion controls.  In Squid Hero For Kinect the player’s hands are used to pick up and throw chunks of ice, plus their body is used to move Squid Hero around. In Boom Ball For Kinect the player’s hands are used to hit the ball and the speed and angle are tracked (angle of hand/bat not graphically represented though), plus the player can move their body left and right.

RELEASE DATE: July 29th 2015 (Squid Hero For Kinect)

August 19th 2015 (Kinect Bundle: Squid Hero + Boom Ball)

PRICE: £7.99 (UK) / €9.99 (EU) / $9.99 (US) (Squid Hero For Kinect)

£11.99 (UK) / €14.99 (EU) / $14.99 (US) (Kinect Bundle: Squid Hero + Boom Ball)

MY OPINION

Boom Ball For Kinect is a pretty cool casual game that’s a first-person 3D cross between block breaking videogames, such as Breakout, and the racquet game squash. Similar to the Rally Ball minigame in Kinect Adventures for Kinect for Xbox 360, but unfortunately you can only hit the ball with your hands rather than any part of your body (although you can move left and right across each level’s “court” with your body), however there is more to do in the game’s 55 levels so that does compensate for it quite a bit. It’s got pretty accurate Kinect controls, which I think would work well in a tennis game, plus quite challenging gameplay as the levels progress so I can definitely recommend Boom Ball For Kinect, especially if you buy the Kinect Bundle version that includes Squid Hero For Kinect too as it works out even cheaper.

Squid Hero is a vertically scrolling arcade-style “squid-em-up” that includes local 2-player co-op multiplayer and is mostly quite fun, although I would have liked to have seen more core gameplay included. I say mostly because each level has a variety of minigames and some are better than others. The minigames are presented differently to most other games though since the game is constantly scrolling so they’e different sections of levels rather than just various separate minigames.

Most of the gameplay involves using your arms to control Squid Hero’s tentacles to grab (without a grab gesture though, they automatically stick to your tentacles), throw and hit chunks of ice against each other, mines, obstructions such as shipwrecks and end of level bosses which are giant robotic creatures including a crab and a crocodile. You also move Squid Hero around by moving both arms quickly in the same direction and the faster you move your hands the faster Squid Hero moves. You can move even faster by leaning in the same direction that you’ve moved both tentacles. You can also move around more subtly by just leaning in a direction but not moving both tentacles in that direction. This is except for the Turbo sections where you can only move by leaning and stepping left or right. The Turbo sections are also my least favourite as they didn’t seem to be perfectly responsive for me and required a lot of space left and right, plus although the obstacles are slightly different objects depending on the location you’re playing, all the obstacles within that location are the same object. I would have liked to have seen a variety of objects in each Turbo! section along with more interesting routes as the routes themselves are basically straight, you’re just having to move left and right to dodge the obstacles and collect pick-ups.

I can just about recommend Squid Hero For Kinect, especially since it’s fairly cheap and even moreso if you buy the Kinect Bundle version that includes Boom Ball For Kinect as mentioned ealier. Although casual gamers will have more fun with it than core gamers, especially children and parents playing with their children should have a good laugh with it together.

 

So what did you think of 2015’s Kinect games? Were you as incredibly disappointed as I was with such a lack of them, especially from Microsoft themselves? But were you also as reasonably pleased as I was with what the independent developers delivered via ID@Xbox? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments below or in our Kinect 2 Games Forum and let’s all hope 2016 is much better!