This title comes to us as a first, I believe to the gaming industry in general and it really turns out to be a unique experience. I can’t really call it a game as there aren’t really any gaming factors to it, but if you haven’t heard anything about this one, here’s the synopsis:
Many games vow to awaken a character’s spirit within. Leela does it within you. Take an interactive journey unlike any other in this experience designed to align your mind, body, and spirit. Mind/body wellness guru Deepak Chopra has created a journey designed to sharpen your awareness of your body’s seven energy centers, bringing them into harmony through seven motion-based stages. Focus on each of your seven Chakras as you relax, stretch, breathe, and meditate accompanied by immersive visuals and atmospheric sounds. The exercises are designed to be done at your pace, allowing you to grow naturally into balanced harmony and greater awareness.
I’m not sugar-coating this as to be quite frank, I have no experience with these type of activities and never heard of the chakra deal until this title. What I can tell you though, is I don’t believe in all this hoopla and surprisingly enough, I felt the title did its job as it’s the first experience I had with a console title that actually brought me relaxation. I have never been so relaxed while playing any game and the “games” in Leela are quite satisfying. This really is an experience that you have to try if you are into this stuff, as my review may give you an idea, but you really just won’t get into it from watching some videos and reading my review. If you are an action/adventure gamer though, this title does not offer that kind of experience.
The menu is fairly organized, and its using the hover and lock method which works great. Each item is in a box and then a circle icon is the actual trigger, makes it helpful so you actually have to confirm what you want instead of accidentally selecting something. The menu starts you off with 2 main categories, Play and Reflect.
Play is broken up into 3 sections — Movements, Sequences and Mandala. The movements are one of the bigger sections but I’ll get to those in a minute. Sequences are a pre-determined sequence of 3 of the movements that you play one right after another focusing on a group of chakra’s instead of working on one at a time. Your mandala, if I recall correctly, is a representation of yourself or your energy via a symbol. You get to use your hands and create your own mandala right at the beginning.
Movements consist of the 7 chakra’s. Each chakra offers 7 levels of play, overall there’s 43 levels. All levels are locked by default, even Level 1, which forces you to do the interactive tutorial which I found quite welcoming because as I stated, I had no idea about any of this stuff and now I’m more educated about it. I did go ahead and just make a video of each chakra’s tutorial, but this is the very first level and it’s very basic. What I found really interesting about these games is that they are, to me at least, puzzle games, yet relaxing because there is no scoring. There is no time limit and no number of lives. You do these activities at your own pace and you can do whatever you want without consequences, it takes the whole pressure off of you which is probably why I found them so relaxing. I’m posting the videos first as they explain the chakra movement better than I can, also the videos I just made of the interactive tutorials because honestly, some of these levels I just get lost in. One level I recall I spent 50 minutes in, just doing whatever, time flies with this title too.
Origin (The Root Chakra)
This is the chakra available in the demo. The 1st level is quite boring which is understandable, in all of the movements, the first few levels just introduce to different things and minor changes to pace you into the full experience of each chakra. The later levels, typically 6 and 7 become quite challenging, yet they remain relaxing. As you progress in this one, you start growing mushrooms, then you have to grow grass. After that, they add in rocks that you use your seeds to remove the rocks, so other seeds can make it to the surface, but seeds don’t grow without grass. Further on, they add in meteors that turn into mountains, and then you have to heat the mountain first with another meteor to give you life to the planet. After that, you then use a seed to cool the mountain and create clouds, and creating life to the planet is done in really small sections. It gets quite challenging.
Life (The Lower Belly Chakra)
This one is interesting. You have some creature that’s more like a submarine to me, but you control it in the water and you can go anywhere in this one except you have to avoid the rocks, otherwise it just bounces off it and messes up your course. You do have to really do some exploring in it later on. The tail of 0’s in the video also gets modified. Your creature will eat plankton and its tail will get longer and longer. This also increases your time limit to carry the energy from the seed. Then they throw in energy monsters or whatever they are, and they will chase you around trying to eat your energy and interrupt your path of travel back to the eggs. When you start mixing in additional color seeds, then the energy paths cannot cross and that’s where it gets real interesting. This one I spent a lot of time in, its slow, yet enjoyable.
Power (The Navel Chakra)
This one is like a DragonBall Z deal, as you can tell from the instructions. You have to be precise though and take your time, going to fast will just shoot little energy balls which really doesn’t do anything. Your objective is to refine gems into energy. It’s easy at first, but then it gets very challenging. They add in the rocks being able to fall down in the lava (more like a sun to me) and when that happens, if you don’t break it off, it turns into negative energy draining your bar the other way.
Love (The Heart Chakra)
This one gets pretty challenging as well. They throw in bigger air currents as well as negative energy currents and then making you travel farther and farther and the planet and sky require more and more energy so it does take quite a while. They also add in left/right directional currents. You may get annoyed in this one, I know I did but it does help you with patience.
Harmony (The Throat Chakra)
This one adds in black holes which suck in the stars, and then adds in your left hand so you have to use both hands and it does get overwhelming at times. There’s also super stars which blow up bigger and slower, and the comets will start moving around without stopping.
Intuition (The Third Eye Chakra)
This one gets insanely difficult. One of the levels in here is the one I spent 50 minutes on. There’s patterns to recognize and you will really want to learn them as later on, they add in negative energy things, which remove all of your energy you have collected. Each illuminated bar on the tunnel, goes all the way to 8 stages per level. It does get ridiculously challenging and the whole leaning thing is really sensitive. I found using your head is a little easier and slower than using your shoulders when you need to just go one lane over. If you have no patience, this section will really help you.
Unity (The Crown Chakra)
This is the only one with 1 level, and it’s the only one you can actually fail, even though it doesn’t say that. You will wonder how far you can go, but it makes it difficult because some gates are higher than the previous and when you go higher, you slow down and use energy faster. This may be one of those that you just keep trying to get further and further.
Those are the “games” in Leela. I quoted games because as I mentioned, there’s no scoring, no time limit, no number of lives and you really can’t lose, so I don’t know if they are technically games, but I did find them as challenging puzzles which I am a puzzle person so I really liked all of them.
As I mentioned earlier, the sequences are just pre-determined sections of 3 chakra’s in a row, instead of just focusing on one. Your different sequences include:
- Basic (First Sequence)
- Foundation (Ground Yourself)
- Heart (Center Yourself)
- Ethereal (Float Away)
- Wholeness (Integrate)
- Guru (Effortless)
- Leela (Unexpected)
One more note, every single section has a “Learn” option, either the girl or Deepak (at least I think it’s him) will explain everything to you in that section. It’s really a nice touch to people like myself that have no idea about anything this title offers.
Your mandala section, once created allows you to create a new one, re-sculpt the one you have or even share it on facebook. It is pretty cool to be able to create with your hands 🙂
The reflect section consists of your meditation and breathing exercises as well as an Oracle and an Ambient version. All of these are locked as well, but its fine as you probably should go through each single level. This one has quite a few number of levels as well. I didn’t jot them all down, but the first section, guided meditation, did have 7 levels per 7 areas. I did a video of just the main section, I didn’t go into each category in detail as it is meditation, and someone that serious about it should probably just get this game. 🙂
This area is all guided with no interaction. Deepak talks you through all of these ones, his voice is actually quite soothing. It has on-screen visuals of the movement levels, but you don’t have to watch them, but it does help you get “in the zone.” This section offers 7 different sections that include:
I thought this was pretty cool. The video I included is my actual breathing, I was just sitting on the floor but it works better in a chair. It really does monitor your breathing, and it’s quite accurate at that. If I recall correctly, there is only 1 level per section. The breathing exercises included are:
- Low Belly
- Three Part
- Heart Center
This one is just timed meditation, and just listening to Deepak. Times range from 2 minutes to infinite, however you have to unlock all of them.
Oracle has you ask a question, which really you just choose an answer to the question of “What’s most important to you?” You can only choose one answer, but I did find that each time you go into the Oracle section, the answers you can choose from did change each time. Once you choose an answer, it auto recommends a sequence for you to do and a breathing/meditation exercise, so I suppose it’s kind of a custom thing based on your choice.
Ambient provides a non-interactive visual presentation with music and no talking. It’s nice and relaxing.
The only other section in the title are the game settings which has the audio, Kinect guide, storage device location and the credits.
Graphics and Sound
I would like to mention the visuals are quite appealing, even though I didn’t understand the later levels, it still looked nice and colorful. The music is what gets you though, it just sets the mood and really relaxes you. I could easily just listen to it and fall asleep. Also it seems like it does the Child of Eden thing when you are collecting stuff or whatever motions you do, it always adds in a music effect as if you are making your own kind of music, it’s not as in-depth as Child of Eden but its kind of the same concept.
The controls are very basic, however, its enough to not bore you as these are puzzles, not some type of in-depth game so its fine for what it is. The key is that they work though, and it’s very sensitive. I’ve added a new test to my reviews as of late and titles that I feel you can sit on a chair or something, I have tested them out. This one will allow you to sit the entire time, even the hip movements, even though your shoulders aren’t as accurate as your hips, it still works.
I would have to say this is probably a title that is for specific people, so unfortunately it won’t please everyone. I won’t lie, if I didn’t want to review it, I would have never played this title as this type I’m not interested in, but I am glad I did. It’s a new experience that gives me something else to do with Kinect. It is quite time-consuming as well, especially if you start regularly doing the meditation and breathing exercises which then it turns more into a fitness style game with replay value.
I’m not sure if anything could have been done differently with it, but I feel it will be left as is, so I wouldn’t expect anything Xbox Live related to happen with this title such as DLC. For a first on the console, I think this is a new genre that will probably be accepted by most people and for Deepak’s first title, it’s quite good. If you are really into this stuff, as I mentioned, you will probably want to buy it, otherwise probably give it a rent to make sure you like it.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Deepak Chopra’s Leela
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