The third iteration of the series arrives on Kinect and I have to say, it wasn’t what I expected. If you haven’t heard of or played the first two, this one states:

The hit TV obstacle course challenge returns for a third smash-and-splash romp that adds two key words: Instant Replay. Test your balance as you try your luck on 12 new winter and summer obstacle courses in solo or team modes for up to four contestants. Successfully survive courses to unlock new characters, episodes, and power-ups. A new over-the-shoulder point of view lets you see firsthand that squishy foam obstacle that’s about to derail your dreams of victory and send you splashing into defeat. Each splashdown can now be rewound and played over and over again with the new Instant Replay feature, so you can get maximum payout from every wacky wipeout!

Overview

Wipeout 3 actually surprised me, the developers did some changes and they were for the better in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t enjoy this game more than Kinect Sports or Dance Central, but overall it is a fun family game all around now.

The Menu

The menu is quite short and sweet, I think they went with the keep it simple stupid method. Anyhow, the main menu consists of Quickplay which really just throws you immediately into the game, a random course with your last chosen character, last equipped power-ups and difficulty level. Single player goes into more detail, then there’s Wipeout Party which is your multiplayer mode for up to 4 players (2 head to head at a time) and your Options.

Single Player

This is the main concourse of the game so to speak. There’s actually quite a few things to unlock and you now have an experience point system that allows you to level yourself up to unlock more goodies. The first section consists of the contestants. There are 28 in total, but not all of them are selectable until you level up and unlock them. I wasn’t able to tell if some characters were faster or better than others. You can also plug-in your avatar if you would like.

The next area is the Shop. In this area, you can purchase power-ups to be used by obtaining in-game money to purchase them with. They are split up into 3 sections; Helmets, Gloves and Boots. Each category consists of 7 power-ups but again, you need to level yourself up in order to purchase them all. Each item does something specific or has multiple power-ups. For example, fish gloves help you swim faster in water. It’s actually a cool add-on to this series for once.

The last section consists of the actual episodes, there are 12 altogether but they are themed this time. I actually enjoyed this one out of all of them, each course doesn’t have the same obstacles so it doesn’t keep it as stale as the previous two titles. What is nice, since the game is still somewhat challenging, is they give you a bonus feature, so to speak, during your first run through as all episodes are unlocked until you start playing. If you get stuck on a section, after failing it 3 times you are automatically forwarded to the next checkpoint. After you complete the episode however, you then lose your bonus feature and have to get through it no matter how many tries it takes.

The list of episodes are as follows:

  • Deck The Balls (Christmas)
  • Fast Food Fury (All fast food obstacles)
  • Wipeout Winter Games (Winter sports obstacles such as hockey sticks and pucks)
  • Getting Schooled (School related obstacles)
  • Classic Wipeout (The normal wipeout obstacles)
  • Love Hurts (Valentine’s obstacles)
  • Terrible Tiki Trouble (Paradise obstacles)
  • Wild West Wipeout (All of the old western themed)
  • You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yeti (Yetis!)
  • Disenchanted Forest (Alternate fairy type theme)
  • Super Ballsy Brothers (8-bit world with blocky obstacles)
  • Crash Of The Titans (Greek mythology type theme)

During the actual gameplay, there are 10 rings in each round. There are a total of 4 rounds. Some episodes have the knockout rounds where you have to stay afloat for the longest, but others just have normal obstacle rounds. The rings remove one second of time from your total time. When you wipeout, you are penalized 10 seconds, but the way the game is now setup, is you can make it all the way no matter what your time is.

There are also 2 ballsy’s to collect in each round, however I was never able to find the second one so I’m not sure what they do. After the round is completed, you get an XP bonus to level yourself up. Depending on how many rings and ballsy’s you collected, you get cash from it to add to your bank to purchase the power-ups. After you complete all 4 rounds, you unlock the next episode and can choose a new one.

To give you an idea of a round, I did make a video of one. This iteration is a lot different from the previous 2 titles meaning there are some cool new obstacles and it really mixes it up. Check it out below:

Options

The options consist of your typical sound settings (adjust volumes), the Kinect Tuner, Select Device for storage, Difficulty which has everyday people and expert where obstacles move faster and wipeout penalties are double, the tutorial video which I will get into in a minute and the credits.

You are probably asking why is there a tutorial video as I did when I first started it up. They changed quite a few of the controls but it’s for the better in my opinion. First of all, you aren’t going to feel like you’re dying anymore playing this game. You can either run in place like previously or just move your arms now. You can either jump to jump or just raise your arms straight up. What this does in my opinion, is open the gameplay up for everyone. I remember the previous 2 had some really difficult obstacles and the controls were sometimes a pain. The new controls definitely alleviate most of the problems from the other 2. To get a full idea of the new features, I did record the tutorial video which you can view below and you’ll notice it’s no more cheesy avatars finally!

Conclusion

Honestly, this one is the better one out of the previous 2. It’s more friendly, not as frustrating and when playing with your family, can be loads of fun. Now that it doesn’t require a strenuous workout to play, I think people of all ages can play this game finally. I know kids love this game so they will probably really love this one, but I scored this one based from an adult’s point of view. It’s a decent game, nothing over the top, but at least the controls work pretty well. There is some replay value for us completionists by going back and replaying the levels to earn everything, but after that it’s about it. If you must have this one, I would still recommend waiting until the price goes down a little as there is only so much for you to do.


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Wipeout 3
Scoring policy: What do these game review scores actually mean?