- Publisher: Microsoft
- Developer: Rare
- ESRB Rating: “E" for Everyone
- Genre: Sports
- Pros: Great, fun gameplay in most events; good variety of game types; nice presentation
- Cons: Some sports aren't so hot
Kinect Sports has six event types - bowling, boxing, volleyball, soccer, table tennis, and track & field. There are also sixteen minigames that are different versions of these events. Bowling mini-games include an event where you can use both hands (thus, two balls at once) to try to knock down as many pins as possible within a set time limit. There is also a bowling mode where you try to pick up spares the game sets up for you. A table tennis minigame lets you use two paddles to try and return as many balls as possible as they come at you rapid fire-style. Track & field minigames include things like javelin (and a funny feature is that you can throw it at equipment on the field in the game and break it, tee hee) and discus among others. There is a lot to do in Kinect Sports, and most of it is pretty darn fun. You can play solo or local multiplayer, or even against other players via Xbox Live.
The gameplay is the key part of Kinect Sports, though. When it works well, it is amazingly fun. In events where it doesn't work well, it is kind of a drag. For the most part, however, the various events are a lot of fun and afford a surprisingly amount of control. It doesn't ever track you with perfect 1-1 movement, but it doesn't really need to. It is just plain fun. Period.
Track & field isn't quite as fun, as the events have you running in place to build up speed and then jumping to jump over hurdles or long jump. It works well, and is surprisingly responsive to what you're doing, but your neighbors will kind of hate you if you live in an apartment. I didn't spend much time with it for just that reason.
Boxing was another favorite of mine. You hold your hands in front of your face to block, and then throw punches like you normally would. Jabs, hooks, uppercuts, haymakers, body shots, etc. are all possible. And you can't just flail around, either, because the A.I. will block and use different tactics of its own, so you actually have to adjust strategies in order to win.
Soccer is a bit weird in that you can't move your player, but instead just kick the ball around to pass it to teammates and ultimately take a shot on goal. Playing defense just has you side stepping to whichever side the ball is going to be passed on to intercept it. You can take a lot of different shots and make a lot of different passes, though, depending on how you kick, so it is kind of cool overall. Not for the long term, but it is neat for a while.
Volleyball can be interesting because it lets you make overhand, underhand, and jumping power shots and works pretty well. Onscreen indicators tell you what to do, but it is still up to you to actually move and do it. It can definitely be fun.
Kinect Sports looks good. It isn't super detailed or anything, but everything is clean and colorful and looks good. It uses Xbox 360 Avatars for all of the events, which is always cool.
The sound is fairly good. Nothing spectacular in the way of sound effects, but the announcer is okay and rarely obnoxious, and licensed music tracks play now and then when you do something good.
Kinect Sports is among our favorite Kinect launch titles. Not every sport is a winner, due to personal preferences or location conflicts (jumping up and down a 3 A.M. isn't good for apartment dwellers), but everything works surprisingly well and is a lot of fun. Bowling, table tennis, and boxing really stand out in particular and are awesome. The minigames put a twist on the traditional sports as well, and are fun on their own. This game is just good clean fun that gives you the same warm fuzzies that Wii Sports did four years ago. Parents, kids, grandparents - everyone will be able to get in front of the Kinect sensor and know how to play this game instantly. Kinect Sports is highly recommended for any new Kinect owner.