Review: Kinectimals

Could a Kinectimal be for life and not just for Christmas?

Format: Xbox 360 Dev: Frontier Developments Pub: Microsoft Out: 10/11/10
Players: 1-4

For a new product such as Kinect, recently released for Xbox 360, reaching the entire mass market is vital. People of all interests and all ages need to be catered for, to get the new product off the ground. This is why developers release titles that should, in theory, appeal to all. So, have they got it right with Kinectimals? Well, if you are under the age of 10, the answer is a massive yes. But what about the rest of us?

The idea of Kinectimals is not really new. Nintendogs released a few years ago on the Nintendo DS is very similar to it in terms of gameplay and ideas the game is based around.

In Kinectimals, you have the choice of five different types of big cat cubs to choose from and adopt as a pet. You aim to care of your cub, through petting it, feeding it, washing it and exercising it in various activities. You can throw or kick a ball to your cub, dangle a fish on a string to it and a whole host of other things, all by moving your body while Kinect tracks you.

There is a vague story mode within the game, but if you’re expecting Zelda with cats, you’re going to be disappointed. There is a lot lacking within the game and the controls become very tedious after a while, as the game itself is very menu-heavy and option reliant. The game just doesn’t flow well. It works better if you use it in a ‘do whatever the hell you want’ way. It seems Kinectimals is way more fun this way, playing with your cub and teaching him/her tricks, but only for about five minutes.

Credit where credit is due though, Frontier has created a beautiful looking game. The scenery and animals themselves are highly detailed. It must be said, the cubs are obscenely cute and it’s ridiculously easy to get drawn in by this. You really do start to care for your cub like you would a real pet, they really are that cute.

However, despite the achievements of the developers in terms of visuals and detail, there isn’t much within this title that would entice the die-hard gamer or anyone who could quickly see through the sparkling exterior of the game. If you are nine-years-old, this will undoubtedly be the first item on your list to Santa, but for everyone else, I’d suggest looking elsewhere to get the most of your new motion sensor.

Ian Davies

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