[GAMES 10] Kinect Joyride Hands-on Impressions
Become the steering wheel.
As kids, we have all played with our imaginary vehicles – holding out our hands as if we had the steering wheel in hand and making ‘broom brroooom’ noises as we powered up our version of the Batmobile. When I centered myself in front of the Kinect camera to play Kinect Joyride and held my hands out, nostalgia was the first thing that me. The concept of the game is pretty similar too – you still get to hold your arms out except that your imagination is now the game and the car is what you have on-screen. The second thing that hit me was…how silly I must be looking.
That was the first mind battle I had to get through as the game geared up. Focus, I told myself, you mustn’t look back at the snickering faces. I put out my arm and carefully guided the cursor to ‘replay’ the level and then made a stop sign with my palm to confirm my decision. I noticed how quickly Kinect adjusted to the different body shapes. Before me there was a lady and a gentlemen and Kinect instantly accustomed itself to the new shapes.
Finally, the game loaded and I entered a game mode called Battle Race. As instructed by our friendly demonstrator Barry, I held out my arms and formed a steering wheel. A countdown then begun, and the cars automatically accelerated at a ‘comfortable’ speed. To race, it was simple: I had to just tilt my hands at the direction I wanted the car to turn and it would generally follow my gesture. To boost, I was instructed to pull my arms together towards the chest, then thump them out to unleash the nitro. It worked pretty well and was extremely useful in edging out other racers. The boost also comes in handy to jump from the many ramps scattered over the track. The ramp will spill you in the air, giving you an opportunity to perform midair tricks and collect bonus points. To do the trick, I had to lean forward and move my body to one side. Depending on the direction I turned, the car would spin around causing the driver to perform some stunts as well. The track also required us to perform drifts. To much embarrassment I soon figured out that to do a proper drift, you not only had literally turn in one direction but also stick your bum in the same direction as well. The car would then do a proper screech around the corners. Needless to say, I was very much happy with the ‘baby drifts’ as the game calls it.
The main question in all our minds relating to any Kinect game is: how accurate is it? With Joyride, the accuracy was way off, as evident in the video above. There could be a number of reasons that would cause Kinect to loose accuracy, the group of crowd right behind me for one, but judging by my hands-on with the title at GAMES 10, I found it not responding to my gestures as sensitively as I would like it to. I understand that the game may not be designed like a regular racer, but even after making grand gestures to turn my car, it would just merely tilt around the corner. It makes you feel disconnected from the game.
Thankfully, the cartoony art style and simple gameplay mechanics works in its favor, as evident by the huge crowd lined up to play the game. The game specifically targets families and casual gamers and it seems to be getting the right kind of attention at the stands. For hardcore racers, as you should expect, there is little to be found.
Kinect Joyride is one of the launch titles when Kinect releases this November.