During 123Kinect’s visit to GamesCom 2011, I was able to play Leedmees, the upcoming arcade Kinect game by Konami. Should you be familiar with a game called the Lemmings (a tactical game from back in the day, where you had to lead creatures called Lemmings through an exit on the other side of the level through constructing and digging etc) then it will help you understand the challenging fun one can enjoy while playing this game. If not, then it may be harder to ‘get’ this game, but you may try the Lemmings right here.
Simply put, the aim of this game is to save the Leedmees from their death. Using your arms, you can create bridges and walkways for those loveable creatures to cross safely and in time. Your legs can be used to push switches and open or shut the route before the Leedmees. Playing it for the first time will probably make you smile; as the way they tack onto your body is really cool… you may even feel like a parent taking care of your children in the 50 stages that the singleplayer mode entails.
Even though I did not play through all of the levels, the ones I did try were quite challenging. Playing the levels made me believe that creating a challenging game looks to be the aim of its creators: and they have succeeded. Using both your body and your mind at the same time turns out to be quite challenging, especially when you’re on a time limit too.
One example of how this game deliberately makes it harder to save the Leedmees, was when my movements were mirrored in one level. So raising my right arm actually raised the “avatar’s” left arm, messing up my coordination quite a bit. Additionally, the levels get more complex as you progress in the game, making sure you will stay on your toes!
What also makes this game challenging (even though this may not have been so deliberate) is that the Leedmees react to your movements with quite some sensitivity, so if you move your arm up fast, then there is a good chance you will launch the Leedmees into the air… leading to their death if you do not fetch them afterwards.
When it comes to multiplayer, even though the aim of this game is the same, it has a different feel to it. This time, you will need to communicate with your co-op partner too. This took some getting used to (come on, I never met the guy and now we’re taking care of these ‘kids’), but in the process we had a lot of fun, mostly because of the aforementioned challenging nature of the game. Beware though, as you need a lot of room if you want to play Leedmees together, because sometimes this game requires you to stretch quite a lot in order to get to those poor lost souls in the bottom corner. I’ve been told that there are 12 multiplayer levels that you and a friend can co-operatively enjoy.
Not all good though
Now that the positives are out of the way, it is good to talk a bit about the downsides of this game as well. In general, the detection in this game worked well. Sometimes however, my feet were not optimally detected when in singleplayer, but this was hardly a problem. Playing this game in co-op mode though, the game will sometimes not detect your body as well as you would want to. If you are partially behind or in front of the co-op partner when building bridges, or saving the life of one of your little ones for instance, then it happens that the detection of a part one of your limbs will be lost. Given that every mistake will cost you valuable time makes issues like these feel unfair.
What was also lacking in my view was a bit of context, or story to this game. The Leedmees are just that: mindless creatures that are led by you, not a whole lot more. Adding a story element may have set it apart a bit more from the Lemmings that also lacked a story.
Leedmees is Konami’s first Kinect arcade game and releases on Xbox Live Arcade on the 7th of September for 800MS points.
I did not tape my own efforts, but found this video to give a good show of this Kinect game, enjoy!