Cabela’s brings another game to Kinect, another new idea, and it may pay off. If you haven’t heard of it yet or haven’t been paying attention to it, here’s what it’s about:

Cabela’s puts the crazy back in the crazy-hazy days of summer with this game that sends you to an amusement park summer camp! Cabela’s Adventure Camp is a world of eight outdoor-themed thrill rides. Kayak on a wild river, go thrill-hill biking, ride giant waves, and more. You’ll spend a week at camp, competing head-to-head with other campers each day. At the end of the week, the camper with the most points goes home with the Cabela’s Cup. The motion-based play is geared toward outdoor adventurers of all ages. Sync up with Facebook to post your scores and challenge your friends to join you at camp.

Overview

With these new titles, it’s hard to know what to expect, and you just don’t know about it unless you play it or read our reviews. What has been brought to Kinect with this title is actually quite good. There’s actually only 6 main events, and 2 mini-game types, but still it’s worth checking out.

Introduction

You are introduced to a cartoony style introduction movie. The first gripe is you can’t skip it, that means every time you start-up the game, you have to watch this intro. I tried voice and motion (every gesture in the game), but nothing worked, it could probably be fixed with a patch. Anyhow, the introduction movie introduces to the 6 teens that arrive via bus to the camp. Your camp instructor explains how it works and warns you about Greg, something is wrong with the kid and all he does is want to interfere with the kids events. It’s only about 2 minutes, so it’s not too bad, it’s just annoying we can’t skip it.

The Menu

Navigation is done using the Dance Central method, although this is probably one of the few gripes you will have with this game. The menu is SUPER sensitive, you can’t go as fast as other games, you have to go very slow and move in increments to get what you want. Luckily, the menu isn’t huge, with only 3 main areas – Play, My Cabin and Options.

Play

In the play menu, you have 2 options, Cabela’s Cup or Freeplay. Cabela’s Cup is like a story mode for the game, it’s not much of a story but it works for what it is. There are 6 characters to choose from, but you don’t gain any individual benefits from any of them to keep things fair, 3 boys, 3 girls. I give the details about them later in the review. Pick your character and you are good to go. You begin your first event, which is more of a quick mini-game, but make sure you read all of the instructions before selecting Go! to start it, I was quick to the punch the first time and had no idea what I was doing. The first even is Bear Hunter Ninja which is a Cabela version of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Details about it are below. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, so proceed on.

Once the event is done, you are presented with your schedule. Camp lasts 7 days, the first day is the Bear Hunter Ninja game that you have already played. Days 2-6 are up to you to choose or you can have it randomly pick events for you. Day 7 is Hogwhacked which is the other mini-game. Once you decide on your schedule, you then proceed to Day 2. Your goal is to win each event. You compete with 3 of the other kids and each event gives you a total score. There are all kinds of different factors to score, so make sure you get as many points as you can. At the end of the week, whoever out of your group has the most points, win’s the Cabela Cup.

Once you win the Cabela Cup, your character writes a postcard to whomever these other characters are. I did go through each character and each character has their own story. This is exactly what I’m talking about adding a little something extra to the story or the characters. This entices you to play the Cabela Cup mode 6 times just to find out the story, although I’d consider it more as background information. From what’s been collaborated, there may be a Cabela’s Adventure Camp 2 which covers week 2 as I think the Camp is actually 3 or 4 weeks…it might make it interesting.

Free Play

Free play mode let’s you choose any of the events to play, however all of them are locked except the first level ones. You have to win a silver medal on the first event of that type in order to unlock the additional ones. If you play Cabela Cup 6 times though, you will unlock most of the level 1 and 2 events, only a couple have 3 and 4. That’s pretty much what this section is going to be about, the events! I’ve detailed every single event so you can get an idea, effort was put into this game, so I put effort into this review.

Biking 1
This is kind of like mountain biking, but its good. This one is probably the most active event. You are on a mountain type bike, and you start on top of a pretty big ramp. The game will instruct you to grab the handles. Once you grab them, you have to run in place to start pedaling, brilliant idea! It makes it feel so much better, I know running in place isn’t the same as pedaling, but it is something. Where this shines is you are pretty much free to go where you want, but you are going downhill so you can’t turn around or anything. The other factors that play a role are you can use your hands like a handlebar and turn it to turn your bike, or if you really want to get into a sharp turn, lean and turn your handlebars at the same time. As I mentioned you are going downhill, so you don’t have to pedal if you don’t want to, but you can run in place to pedal and go faster.

There’s ramps around the track that you can jump. A few allow you to do a pose, which in the game, you really pose, no tricks or anything but I prefer the realism over the posing equals some rad trick that has nothing to do with the pose. When you pose, it does take your picture, just a forewarning. You also gain bonus points from doing a pose correctly. There are Cabela coins all over the track as well, you collect these to earn points as well. Your last factor is time, the faster you are, the more points you get and you get a time bonus as well.

Remember that bad kid Greg I mentioned, yeah he likes to mess with you on the track events. In this one, he’ll pop up on the right side of the screen, he’s kind of creepy, and when that happens, you’ll start seeing full-grown trees falling over into your path, talk about a nice guy! Anyhow, you just have to jump over them literally. It’s all 1:1 so it works really well. A side note on this, as one of the unexpected things in this game, it has random weather and time. You can play in the morning, daytime, nighttime, or in rain. The rain unfortunately doesn’t really have an effect from what I could tell, but it’s still cool how it’s all random. I don’t recall random weather/time in any of the other available Kinect games, but I could be wrong.

Tracks also offer multiple paths, there’s even a hidden cave in one of them, took me awhile to figure it out, the way this is set up is just cool to me. I think because you can move freely and alternate paths, it’s kind of hard to play the exact same path each time. Greg’s tree falling and coin locations are always the same though, so after a while you will sort of remember where things are, but its hard to replicate your exact actions.

Biking 2
Biking 2 is a little bit longer track, but different and more paths to choose. It’s still fun though, I played both tracks probably like 10 or 20 times and I still can’t remember where everything is, because they are somewhat similar, yet different. I’d really like to see some additional tracks added, this would give some longevity to this game.

Here’s a video I made for the Biking event. In the beginning, I’m raising my hands just to show what its tracking. After I start, I first just use my hands to steer, then I use my hands while leaning into the turns and you should be able to tell the difference. The controls on this are great during the action. The only issue I was having randomly was I didn’t always grab the handlebars right away and I adjusted by moving my hands closer/farther away from Kinect and they will latch on. Once they are latched, it just works.

Kayaking 1
Kayaking, I think, was done better in this game than it was in MotionSports Adrenaline, just not as pretty, but the graphics are fine for what it is. With Kayaking, you start out at the top of the river. The track again has multiple paths, but I didn’t notice any weather/time changes in this one. You start by grabbing onto your paddle. To start, you have to paddle in rhythm with right and left opposite of each other, like the real deal. You don’t have to stick your paddle in the water to turn. You just have to lean left and right and it works. You paddle to keep going straight and to go forward. You can jump in this one as well, and there are a couple of ramps where you can do poses as well. Coins are a plenty in this one as well.

You can flip your kayak and it’s cool to flip it back over, you have to rock side to side like you are in a boat trying to flip it, the gesture flips it right side up but its random depending if you’re hitting something or not, and if you’re in a major rapid. Your buddy Greg is in this one as well. This time’s he’s knocking mountain size boulders into the river to get you to crash into them, not sure if he has mental issues or what. Anyhow, that’s pretty much kayaking, it’s fun, it’s not as active as the biking but it’s still fun. Kayaking 2 offers the same thing, but longer track and more difficult to navigate.

Here’s a video of this event as well. In the beginning I’m leaning left and right to show you how it works. Controls work great on this one as well. I did happen to catch a ramp to do a pose as well.

Wave Riding 1
This one lets you drive a jet ski. I had fun with this one as well. You grab the handles again, but you move it like the real thing. You can pull the handles close to you to slow it down, or push them away from you to speed up. When turning you can turn with handles or lean into it to really do some spinning. I could totally see being able to at least jump and stuff in a jet ski style game, unfortunately the jet ski you use makes no wake so I wasn’t able to jump it. There are ramps though that you can jump, just no tricks which I didn’t really see it as a bad thing. We can’t do all kinds of crazy Kinect gestures to replicate tricks anyway, so its good for how it is.

Anyhow, this one is a little different from the other 2. It’s basically a free open area that you can do whatever, except go on land. You have to get a certain amount of coins in order to unlock the next area. There are 3 areas total plus the gate to the finish line. I think that’s what is really cool about this one, is it’s up to you to do whatever you want. You do have a time limit though, where as the Biking and Kayaking increment in time, this one decreases time. If I recall, you have 3 minutes to complete the course and collect what you need, and to score points as well.  Wave Riding 2 offers a little bigger area, more buoys and more jumps. I did find this one fun as well. Greg is in this one as well (will the guy find something else to do?) and he creates whirlpools, they don’t suck you in, but they will make you do a 180 and mess up your direction and steering, he’s annoying at this point. Unfortunately these 3 events are the only “racing” types…and I’d have to say they are pretty equal, I liked each one for different reasons.

Here’s a video of this one as well…I was trying to get a wake going, but it wasn’t letting me 🙁

Skeet 1
Skeet shooting is quite good as well. The way this is introduced is more like difficulty levels. Skeet 1 is just an introduction on how it works, it has a basic challenge factor to it, but it’s not as crazy as the other levels. You are instructed to hold your secondary arm to aim, you can choose either right or left as your primary or shooting hand. I basically just pretended I was holding a shotgun by the forearm to take stress off my arm and it worked absolutely fine. Aiming is very precise and it works great. To shoot, you have to keep your primary hand by your stomach like you are holding a trigger, and then pump it down. It’s not realistic but it works. You don’t have to reload or anything either so you can shoot as fast as you pump, it gets a little tiring though.

In the first level, there’s just random clays flying all over the place and random dynamite will get thrown in from each side. When you shoot the dynamite, it will blow up all the clays on that side. There are 3 rounds in each Skeet level, each round is shooting from a different angle so it mixes it up pretty good. That’s really all there is to the first level. It’ll help you get a feel on how to aim and shoot.

Skeet 2 introduces you to green and red balloons. Green balloons make your reticule bigger, enough to take out about 5-8 clays at a time if you can time it right. Red balloons make your reticule tiny, and makes it hard to hit anything. As I said, with each level, the difficulty increases a little bit. It’s interesting.

Skeet 3 introduces you bonus balloons. These balloons are a striped balloon floating with a wooden crate attached to it. You can either shoot the balloon and the crate will fall, or shoot the crate itself. When the crate breaks, I’m not sure how many there are, maybe like 10-15, white/clear balloons emerge. Each one is worth 2 points, each clay is worth 5, so then you have to figure out if you want to go for all the balloons or keep going for clays to increase your score. There’s a little strategy involved, I always welcome strategy to any game.

Skeet 4 throws it all together. It’s pretty tough but still passable. These really shine in multiplayer as it makes for some real competition between you and a friend. Here’s a video of Level 4, I tried to do best I can, I’m just not super steady.

If you don’t want to play the arcade aspect of Skeet Shooting, Cabela’s was thinking of you as well. They added another mode called Sporting Clays. This is your straight up regular clay shooting. You have 5 stands, 5 bullets per stand and 5 clays per stand. No bonus anything, just straight up clay shooting. It’s good times. Here’s a video of it:

Archery 1
We’ve only seen one archery attempt with Kinect back last year when that scary game, Deca Sports Freedom, came to us. If we could only have had back then, what we have now. To speak bluntly, Archery is just awesome. It’s so accurate and the gestures work perfectly. Here’s how it works, you pick your primary hand, mine is right. You pretend you are holding the bow handle with your secondary hand, so I was using my left, you point it down kind of at the ground. You use your primary hand, my right, close to your secondary hand, like you are loading an arrow, except you really are in the game. You pull your primary hand back to lock the arrow and it recommends putting your primary hand by your face, just like the real deal. You then use your secondary hand that’s holding your imaginary bow to aim. When you want to fire the arrow, this is the only kind of odd thing, but after a few you get used to it, you have to just flick your primary hand to the side, but after I actually walked myself through shooting a real bow and arrow, most people flick their hands to the side anyway when you release the arrow. It works beautifully. I am so impressed that they got this down to that much of a science and with it working flawlessly, it’s even better.

So now that you have an idea of how the gesture works, the game itself is quite fun, but challenging as heck, but it could be me as I mentioned I have a somewhat steady hand, but not perfectly still. Archery 1 just introduces you to bullseyes. It doesn’t matter where you hit them as long as you hit them. After your first 3 targets are hit, a multicolored bullseye pops up. This one also doesn’t matter where you hit it, but as soon as you do, 3 moving bullseyes pop up. Now it starts to get interesting. At first, I didn’t like it, but the arrows are delayed. Then I realized it was created like this to make it challenging. The targets move slow, but you have to time the delay and everything right. You’ll go to shoot, then the stupid target moves and you miss. It’s not annoying nor frustrating, just challenging. I first thought, why aren’t the arrows like real speed? Then I realized how slow they move, there would be no challenge at all if it was instant, so I like the idea they came up with and it makes it fun.

Archery 2 introduces those cardboard cutouts that Cabela’s sells for target practice – there is no realistic animal killing in this one for those that don’t like the regular Cabela games because of it. They have a cut out of a buck, a doe and wolves. You are to only shoot bucks, Doe’s get you negative points and the wolves make the deer move. You can shoot the wolf target and it will disengage the targets from moving. Now you have to kind of pay attention to the deer when they are moving. If you shoot a wolf when a buck is behind a doe, it’s really hard to hit it or behind a tree, etc. In Round 3, targets are way in the back, and they are tough to hit, but you can hit them.

Archery 3 introduces you to a new cutout. A deer with a multicolored bullseye. This is a special deer as it changes your one arrow to a 3 shot seeking rocket arrow, sweet! There’s also bonus balloons introduced in this level. They are in crates again, but to get them, TNT is lying around. You shoot the TNT and it explodes, igniting a fuse. Once the fuse hits the crate, it blows up and 3 balloons come out. Each balloon is worth 30 points, so if you time it right, hit a deer with a bullseye (you actually have to hit the bullseye on the deer) and get your 3 shot rocket, then shoot the balloons as all 3 rocket arrows will take them out giving you a 90 point shot.

Archery 4 throws it all together. It’s really tough. By the way, archery probably takes the longest. It has 3 rounds as well, and the whole game itself is probably a 10 minute game from what I estimated, yet you don’t tire out, it’s just fun to load your arrows and shoot away. Here’s a video of Archery 4, I tried really hard to get the deer bullseye so I could show the rocket, but I was having no luck at all. This should give you an idea though of how it works. In the beginning, I am messing around with the first 2 arrows to show you how accurate it is. You can barely pull on the arrow and the game reflects it. I didn’t have one issue with controls, so don’t think the first 2 arrows are control issues.

Fishing 1
Another new event that hasn’t hit Kinect yet, fishing. I had no idea what it was going to be like, but it is once again fun. It’s simple, but I think its more for 2 player. The way you work it, is you have a fishing rod, in Fishing 1, you have to match colored fish, yellow blue and red fish. A pattern will show up on the screen like, Red, Blue, Red. Unfortunately it doesn’t matter the order, but you have to get those colored fish. You can cast where ever, and you can cast far or close to just lob it in. Once your hook is in the water, and a fish hooks on, just yank it up and tada. Rapala might be go further into this as Activision is publishing that one as well. It still is cool that you can cast where ever, I wasn’t expecting that. It would have been a little more challenging if you had to go in order of the colors of the fish. There’s only 3 patterns, a 3 fish, 4 fish and a 5 fish pattern. This event is timed, so you only have a certain amount of it. The controls work for mostly everything, except lobbing it doesn’t always work, but I could have been at a wrong angle or what not, so it could be user error.

Fishing 2
Fishing 2 is a little different, more of a realistic approach. You get 3 lures to use, one is for small fish, one is for medium fish and the last is for large fish. You change the lure with your secondary hand – take a note – you can only change your lure when your line is out of the water! I casted and then tried changing lures and I’m like, why is this stupid thing broke! Then I realized I can’t change it in the water, yup, user error I admit it. 🙂 But it is really cool that its like that, makes you think a little bit before just doing. I made a video of this one and show the casting areas…it’s actually pretty cool. Hopefully it gives you an idea:

Hogwhacked
This is the last event which is more of a mini-game. It’s a memory type game, the 4 groundhogs pop up singing in a pattern, you just have to whack them in the order they pop up. There are 10 rounds, it’s not too difficult but luck helped me most of the time. Each round a groundhog sings one extra note, so by round 10 the pattern consists of like 15 hogs to hit. This one control wise, you hold out a hand like a hammer and hover over each groundhog, and donk them on the head – animal lovers, it’s a rubber or plastic mallet and they have hard hats on, no harm done, they keep on singing happily. The controls work for the most part, but again it may have been user error or I was going to fast or whatever, I didn’t do it right 100% of the time, but you do get 3 tries. Here’s a quick video of it, I only did a quick round to give you an idea, it has more than 1 pattern. I played it like 10 times and not once did it repeat a pattern.

Bear Hunter Ninja
As I mentioned this is Cabela’s version of Rock, Paper, Scissors. I think Ninja Beats Hunter, Hunter beats bear and bear beats Ninja. Kind of a neat mini-game. You just have to stand sideways and then face Kinect with one of the poses at the bottom. I couldn’t quite get the Ninja pose down, you have to be exact with them, I did get it to work a couple of times, but nonetheless, a mini-game to keep us entertained. 2 out of 3 wins. Here’s a quick video of it:

Those are all of the events. Even though it seems like there is a lot, there’s really only 6, but they are a fun 6. Onto the remaining parts of the game!

My Cabin

In the My Cabin area, you can choose from Change Character, My Medals, My Gear and Leaderboards. In the Change Character section, you can choose a random one or pick one that you want. The 6 characters available are the following:

Veronica – She’s more of your prissy, snobby type girl that doesn’t really want to be at the camp.
Josie – She’s your southern tomboy type girl, that loves her daddy and wants to impress him. At least if I remember it’s her daddy.
Sage – She’s a nerdy type of girl, I think her grandmother wanted her to try to make friends.
Kyle – He’s the nerdy male, for whatever reason, he’s keeping in touch with his professor.
Burke – He’s the stoner, peace-loving, keeping the earth clean type of surfer dude, but he’s kind of a wuss…I don’t remember what his deal is.
Lou – Lou’s the cocky jock type kid and think he’s better than everyone else.

Once you pick a character, you can do a little customization on them by changing their hair, their shirt or their pants, nothing extraordinary, but its something at least.

My Medals keeps tracks of every medal you have earned. You can win Gold, Silver and Bronze for every single event, including the different level ones, like Biking 1 and Biking 2 have different medals. To unlock the higher levels, you need to obtain at least Silver on all level 1 events.

My Gear I did not understand. It changes the view to show your bed in your cabin and there’s some artsy stuff on the walls and what not, but nothing is selectable. It almost looked like I was supposed to unlock something or something should have been there that I could select. I tried to figure it out but I just don’t know.

Leaderboards keep track of your scores and posts them to an Xbox Live leaderboard for all events. I’m in 1st for most events right now 😛 But I’m sure it won’t be for long. Cool feature though, it’s not much but at least it’s something.

Options

The options are normal, you have Kinect Tuner, Audio and Video settings – note, to turn off the taking picture option, its under video settings – storage device and credits.

Side notes

If you notice in the videos I put up, the track events there are those purple/reddish gems? I have no idea what they are for. I thought maybe if you collect them all in both tracks of that event, it’d unlock something, but I did it for the jet ski event (3 in each track) and it didn’t unlock anything, so I’m not really sure of their purpose besides getting the achievement.

The Controls

As I mentioned, the majority of the controls are fantastic. Just to use as an example, MotionSports Adrenaline dumbed down the controls, which in turn made the game less exciting. Cabela went with realistic gestures and it makes the games that much more exciting. Comparing the mountain biking side by side, MotionSports may look cooler and seem cooler, but Cabela’s is just flat-out fun because of the controls.

Multiplayer

Warning, if you play 2-4 player, you can not earn achievements, can not post to leaderboards, cannot earn medals or unlock new levels. Basically you are forced to play single player to really unlock everything before you can enjoy the multiplayer. It may appeal to some and others may hate it. It is what it is.

The track events are take turn events for 1-4, however other players can use a controller and take on Greg’s role and mess with the active player. The shooting games, fishing games and the bear, hunter, ninja game are simultaneous but only for 2 players. The hogwhacked game is also for 4 player, but take turns, no messing with the active player.

Conclusion

Overall, I had fun with this game and surprisingly enough, it didn’t get boring even though it was limited content, maybe because of the controls. The menu really needs to be tweaked, the graphics are decent but not great, the sound is decent, multiplayer is fine for what it is, additional downloadable content is unknown at this time (but the numbering system could allow them to flexibly add some additional tracks for instance).

I would have liked to see some other modes or something for Xbox Live, but at least it has leaderboards. Usually I can figure out some additional ideas for a game, but this one is tough. I’m not really sure what could make it better or if it’s good as it is, hard to say. There has to be something additional though because I really can’t imagine playing this game for a month and not being bored with it. It was one of the easier titles as I did obtain all achievements on it in 8 straight hours.

I know it’s hard to judge if you will like this game from videos until you actually play it, but at least being able to see it should give you some indication. I’m also not sure if this game is intended for teens as some of the things are quite difficult to do, especially if you have competitive friends, it could be a title that’s good for all ages to be honest. It was really hard to give it a rating as it has some issues, but not as many issues as some other games, so I feel I was fair with the rating. My last note, if this game does well, it seems it could form a sequel, which would be interesting if they are to build on these events they have already or if they add more or what not, either way, we’ll keep you posted if we have any word of a potential Cabela’s Adventure Camp 2.


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Cabela’s Adventure Camp
Scoring policy: What do these game review scores actually mean?