GAME NAME: Kinectimals
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360
GENRE(S): Virtual Pet
Kinectimals is one of Microsoft’s Kinect launch titles and is just about the cutest gosh-darned thing ever. A combination adventure game and virtual pet, players will adopt an amazingly animated cub from one of the Big Cat families and head out to play while exploring a gorgeous island. An annoying meerkat-thing with wings acts as a tour guide/tutorial but the game is all about the kitties.
A series of mini-games and challenges that take place between feeding, grooming and stroking the kitty unlock new places on the island. Each new area is themed (from jungles to beaches) and opens new items and games. New cubs can also be adopted along the way.
Kinectimals does its best to show what Kinect can do and the results are impressive. The mini-games comprise football skills and playing fetch, some basic shooting (with water pistols, relax PETA) and even driving in the form of RC cars. The driving implementation is fantastic, letting players accelerate and reverse based on where their ‘steering wheel’ is held.
Players will get a real sense of playing in 3D space with their animals. Adopted animals can interact with players via voice, and also track faces as people move in front of the camera. Players’ hands are depicted on-screen and real-time motions translate into accurate reactions within the game. There are instances of poor detection but mostly Kinectimals is incredible. It makes children of most people who play it.