Independent developer Grandé Games’ hybrid Kinect 2 yoga-action-platformer, Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey, is now available to download for Xbox One, as one of the featured games in Microsoft’s Summer Spotlight promotion, priced at £11.19 (UK) / €13.99 (EU) / $13.99 (US) with a 30% discount for Xbox Live Gold members until August 24th. (£7.83 / €9.79 / $9.79)

Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey First Impressions

Unfortunately my first impressions of Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey won’t be very in-depth this time as after two levels I just physically couldn’t go on any longer today 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. You may also find that you’ll have to not only tilt Kinect 2 to get the right angle in the game’s own calibration screen but even completely change the placement of your Kinect 2, which is what I had to do. It really highlights Kinect 2’s lack of motorised tilt, which the original Kinect had.

Gameplay

Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey is basically a standard platform game with a BIG twist, you have to use your body to help Commander Cherry collect orbs to deactivate force fields as well as spanning large gaps and protecting him from various hazards. You control Commander Cherry with the joypad and press X whenever you reach a “PlatformBuilder 3000” at which point your body appears on screen and you have to make any pose that will allow you to complete that particular puzzle. Once you’re happy with your pose you press either LB or RB on the joypad (so don’t put the joypad down during these parts) to freeze and “plop” your body-platform. Then you resume controlling Commander Cherry with the joypad.

CCPJ-controls_624x351(Click on pic for larger & less compressed image.)

So far all the puzzles have included having to light up all the orbs so Commander Cherry can collect them to deactivate force fields, even if there were other parts involved too. If you don’t manage to light up all the orbs in one go then you have to activate the PlatformBuilder 3000 again, press B to clear your previous body-platform and create a new one. Doing this costs you orb points though and you only get a “Yogawesome!” bonus for a puzzle if you complete it in one go.

Occasionally you’ll find level-up orbs with a bearded Commander Cherry head (some of them you have to go out of your way to find) which level up Commander Cherry by giving him a double jump… and a beard. Levelling up also let’s you survive one attack from an enemy, or at least the only enemy I’ve come across so far which are tentacles with eyes that are attached to the environment. Once you’ve been hit you revert to standard Commander Cherry again. If you’re already levelled up when you come across a level up orb then it doesn’t have a bearded Commander Cherry head on it and it just gives you a load of orb points.

Since I’ve only played two levels I haven’t come across any enemies other than the tentacles, such as the weird poodle-monkey and curly-wigged seal aliens seen in the launch trailer. Although it’s weird that those aliens are attacking you since they seem to be benevolent in the first 2 levels. You do crash your steakship into their Grandé Games Buddha monument and knock its head off during the intro though, so they’re probably not too happy about that! I also haven’t got Commander Cherry’s laser gun yet or the ability to create multiple body-platforms, again as seen in the launch trailer.

It’s a bit hard for me to suggest what could be improved as I’ve played so little of the game, right now the only things I can think of are better graphics as they’re very minimalist and maybe during the Kinect 2 parts they could have had some enemies to fight Kung-Fu: High Impact-style, although maybe that does happen in later levels for all I know.

2-Player Co-op

Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey does have 2-player co-op, but it’s drop-in/drop-op, 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. The way it works it’s very simple, one player can control Commander Cherry and the other player can make the body-platforms. 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.

Summing up & gameplay video

I did have fun during the little I’ve played of Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey so far (despite the pain and exhaustion!) but I honestly can’t give a proper score prediction as I haven’t played anywhere near enough of the game. Having said that, if the whole game was just like what I’ve played so far then it would be worth at least a 6, but since there’s definitely more to it judging by the trailer I think it has the potential to be a 7 or even 8, possibly more if there are some big surprises. I would definitely recommend Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey though and if you want a better idea of how it plays you can watch the following video of the first 8 minutes (I was going to make a video walkthrough of the first two levels but unfortunately it takes much too long to upload the videos from Xbox One due to my upload speed, plus I would have to spend even longer editing them as the sound in my Xbox Game DVR videos are totally out of sync for some reason, many people have the same issue):

 

 

Were my first impressions and short video of Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey helpful? Have you already got the game and if so what do you think of it? Let us know in the comments below or in our Kinect 2 Games Forum. You can even write your own review of Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey in our Kinect 2 Game Reviews Forum.

 

Screenshots