Kinectimals

Kinectimals isn’t really a title marketed at me, but no doubt will sell Kinect to the younger crowd. The frustration in Kinectimals is really only one thing - there’s a big long cutscene at the beginning you can’t skip, and the disadvantage to not having a controller is that you simply lack controls to mash and skip ahead with. Even after the long cutscene, there's a monologue from about all the backstory. I guess I’m wondering how a child is going to sit through all that if even I found myself wishing I could reach out and hit skip.

There are driving minigames which employ the same two-fists-out steering techniques that Kinect Joy Ride does, and other minigames with underhand and overhand tosses which punctuate long periods of playing with your chosen animal. Actually interacting with your pet is unnervingly well done, but it seems like that portion of the game is frequently punctuated by events and circumstances that yank you away to do other things. 

Kinectimals also has the only instance (at least that I’ve seen) of object-identification and profiling. Back in the E3 videos for Kinect, I remember someone scanning an object, then using it inside the game - unfortunately that’s all but removed in the Kinect being sold now, but there’s a tiny bit of it left in Kinectimals. When you select an animal, you’re given the opportunity to associate it with a real world object - a trinket, a picture, something within arm’s reach. 

You can see me holding up the coaster here for training

The first thing I grabbed was one of my coasters (which I made from some old 10 cm wafer masks), which basically look like square mirrors or glass depending on what layer they were taken from (solder mask, e.t.c.). 

Admittedly, that isn’t exactly the fairest of objects to try with this kind of recognition, but it was honestly what was on my coffee table within arm's length. That didn’t go down so well, so I grabbed something else, which did work. You can then hold this object out and select the animal associated with it.

Kinect Joy Ride

Kinect’s driving game is probably the least favorite title of mine in the Kinect launch roundup. When I first saw the Joy Ride demo videos online, I knew that the title would have to emply a significant amount of assists to actually get you around corners. For one, gas and brakes are completely out of the question, and Joy Ride is at least forthcoming about how the go fast and slow down bits of the game are totally handled for you. However, the game employs a substantial amount of auto-steering to get you around the track - your input essentially trims out the driving direction a bit more.

The steering gesture involves keeping two fists out in front of you, and turning an imaginary wheel in midair. You can lean and pull your hands back to charge a boost, and push forwards to temporarily go faster, but most of the actions that will determine your performance in the race are how well you drive over acceleration strips and do tricks midair from leaning side to side. 

Kinect Sports Input Latency and Final Thoughts
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  • tipoo - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    The fan is pretty tiny so you probably wouldn't hear it over your TV and 360 anyways, but I'm curious if its audible? Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    It's definitely not audible. I tried forever to detect airflow, much less it being on, and couldn't ever hear anything. It's possible I wasn't getting Kinect warm enough, but I did try on two pretty toasty LCDs and an even warmer plasma. ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • mentatstrategy - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    I read that it doesn't pick up dark skinned folks very well.. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    AFAIK dark skinned people's infrared signatures are no different from light skinned. If it used a standard camera for detection I would believe you as that's happened to laptops, but in this case the camera is just for video and the infrared sensor does all the detecting. Reply
  • racerx_is_alive - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    rarson is right that it's just the facial recognition, and even that problem goes away if you have enough lights on, I thought. Reply
  • Mumrik - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    I was hoping for an article primarily about the hardware and its possibilities on the PC. I know there's a lot of homebrewing going on and I'm honestly more fascinated by what this might do on PC than what it'll be used for in its natural environment on the 360.
    This all seems well written and so on, but I doubt many of us come here for the console coverage (though I do know that there tends to be hardware coverage at the point of launch).
    Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    Interesting, thanks. I doubt the chips inside it need cooling, its probably for the Infrared sensor as that is sensitive to temperature. Maybe it only turns on if the ambient temperature is very high to start with, and Microsoft just decided to take no chances after that huge hoopla with the RRODs. Reply
  • Noriaki - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    Bottom of page 1: "new Xbox 350 S console" Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    Microsoft actually refers to the new Xbox as the Xbox 360 S in a few places, and I was being very pedantic in that sentence about which console I was referring to (Xbox 360 Pro versus S), so I used that nomenclature. ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    ... with the latest dashboard update that brought UI changes and Kinect support (seriously)"

    And yet you did not plaster the word "FAIL" in big bold letters across the top of every page in this review. Oh it's a great product. It really rains on thw Wii's parade. And it only costs $150 + $300 for a new consoel because the old one is a piece of junk. That's cool though, perfectly normal. Is there no limit to the gullibility and/or stupidity? Does anyone have half a brain not to be so willing to be scammed? Every Xbox I ever see happens to be sitting on top of a dead one. What kind of stupid dumbed down abject morons are you people who feel the need to waste your money on such scams?
    Reply

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