The Xbox 360 Kinect is a precise, motion-enabled gaming controller, that is guaranteed to change the way you play on your console. While there are a lot of recent titles which are Kinect compatible, a new and different title that stands out from the rest is Kinectimals. This title belongs to the virtual pet game genre, at the same time, utilizes the Kinect's motion capability for in-game controls.
What Kinectimals is All About
Kinectimals is an interactive virtual-reality game title released for the Xbox 360 console, to be played with the Kinect controller. This Kinect game encourages players to interact with the in-game characters, in a fictional world and explore and play and learn stuff together. It's highly educational, fun and very entertaining, especially for young children.
That was a very boring, very dry description of what the Kinectimals title is all about. You are taken to the beautifully graphic island of Lemuria and interact with its inhabitants, which are 5 alarmingly cute cubs. You can explore the island, play mini-games and quests with your furry friend, unlock up to 6 more cubs, so more new friends, teach your cubs tricks... basically a petting zoo with cats as the sole pets, using the Kinect. You can even add more cuddly animals to this game by purchasing the Bear Island expansion pack. This pack has a new island to explore, more mini-games and very cute inhabitants in the form of 5 roly poly bear cubs! Oh, and the narrator cum tutor for this interactive experience is Bumble, a sort of bee. That's it, that's all there is to the game. That's what you tell yourself very cynically before you start playing it.
The Kinectimals Review
This game should come with a warning : "Cuteness levels are very high, possible cute overload in your heart, play at own risk, no guarantee for loss of dignity". Because the cubs are adorable! Their rendering and graphics are so realistic, with matching sound effects. The cubs purr and rub against you and look at you with those big, big eyes, you can feel all your inner sense of cool fade away. Plus you can pet and stroke them or tickle their chins or rub their bellies or tickle their ears... in short, except for scratching you with their claws, the cubs do everything a real live kitten would do.
And unlike real cats, who are very independent and moody, the Kinectimals cubs just want to play with you. You are the center of their attention and they want all of it. Another perk in their cuteness factor is that the cubs are designed with 3D effects but do not have a graphical, cartoony look that is common among certain game characters. So you know they are not real but they look so darn precious, you feel like squeezing the life out of them. Even the most jaded of gamers will go "oo-ah-aww so koochie" at them.
The environment in which they live is equally enthralling. Green grass, flowers dotting the landscape, trees and shrubs everywhere, rivers and brooks with skipping stones - it's virtual trip to an island paradise. Once again the sound system matches up with gently babbling water noises, "wind rustling through the trees" effect and birds chirping.
OK, enough about the cubs, let's discuss gameplay. Here's where the motion sensor power of the Xbox 360 Kinect comes into play. Using the controller, you can physically feel and touch the animals. The energetic and immersible mini-games all involve motion, so use the Kinect to throw a ball for your cub to catch. Feed him food from your hands, jump in the air and your pet will jump too. Basically you can play around with the cub. You can even use voice commands like "play dead!" or "sit!", to talk to your cub. Excel at one game, to win medals and trophies and unlock new pets or get prizes and money.
This is perhaps the weakest point in the whole Kinectimals experience. The mini-games are mostly the same, even the motions seem repetitive. There's no learning curve or increase in difficulty. And as with most motion controllers, there are times when your actions are not reflected on the screen. So you might be throwing a ball, which takes a completely different direction and ends up somewhere else completely. There are also complaints of too many in-game menus, which are difficult to navigate using the Kinect.
So what's the verdict in this review? Well the game is an excellent pet simulator, no argument in that area. And the Kinectimals tricks and antics, while repetitive at times, are captivating and engrossing enough for young gamers. From this Xbox Kinectimals review, one thing's for sure - it makes a great kiddie title. Kids of all ages will love the cute, cuddly animals and the fun games will keep them active. And you might find yourself, going "awwww" along with them. Bottom line : great Xbox 360 game title for young ones and animal lovers alike.