Kinectimals came out a year ago when Kinect launched, but it is still one of our favorite games for the device. The presentation is fantastic, the Kinect controls work well, and the game is just plain simple fun that kids and adults can all enjoy. It is kind of disappointing that the second Kinectimals release is only an expansion to add bears instead of a full sequel, but the same high level of quality is present once again and for just $15 for the DLC, you can't complain. Kinectimals fans will have a blast with it. Find out all of the details right here.
- Kinect Sensor Required
- Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
- Developer: Frontier Dev
- ESRB Rating: “E" for Everyone
- Genre: Virtual Pet
- Pros: Great graphics; Lina isn't annoying; bears are cute; juggling; interesting story; kids / girlfriends will love it
- Cons: Bears have ADD; tree climbing; island is tiny
Note that Kiniectimals: Now With Bears is not a full new game. It is only an add-on to the original game. It is available in two versions - a disc version for $49.99 that includes the full original Kinectimials (read review here) game along with the Bears add-on, or if you already own Kinectimals you can download the Bears add-on for 1200 MSP ($15).
The actual content of the game is exactly what the name implies. It is Kinectimals, just now with bears instead of cats. When you start the game you have the choice to play the cat adventure or bear adventure. The bears get their own little island (cats and bears can't play together, unfortunately) and their own little flying guide. Funnily enough, this guide, a female flying fox-thing named Lina, hates Bumble, the guide from the cat island and goes into long rants about how annoying he is, which we thought was hilarious. The bear island is much smaller than the cat island and only offers a couple of areas to play in and doesn't even have a shop to buy new stuff for your house or your cub. Considering that it is just an add-on, though, you can't complain too much.
Just like with the cats, you start Now With Bears by selecting a cub. There is a polar bear, black bear, cinnamon bear, panda bear, and grizzly bear. All of them are cute, of course. Once you picked your cub, you head off to explore and play. The setup is exactly like normal Kinectimals - there is a hidden treasure on the island and by exploring (with regular stops to play) you eventually find it. The story of the cat island and the bear island is actually connected, and is sort of cool to hear about pirates landing on these islands and then setting off somewhere else in search of new treasure, sadly leaving their pets behind.
The actual gameplay is exactly like with the cats. Like, literally exactly the same. You use motion controls or voice commands to teach the bears tricks. You play fetch. You drive around a little R/C car. You use a scanner to find treasure and your bear digs it up. You can feed and brush them. It is all the same. Heck, your bear even suffers from the same crippling level of ADD that your cat did (one of my complaints about the original Kinectimals) and can't play anything for more than a minute and constantly runs off to fetch new toys right when you're starting to enjoy the current activity.
New, bear-exclusive activities include juggling, tree climbing, and fishing. They work to varying degrees (juggling and fishing were fun, tree climbing didn't really function all that well and was absolutely no fun). Add into this all the cat activities that cross over, and there is plenty to do.
One thing that I have to say is that, personally, I don't find the bears as cute as the cats. With the cats it was fun and funny to see these wild cubs acting like normal domesticated cats. It was familiar and when they acted like you expected a real cat to act it was surprisingly satisfying. I have no expectations for how bears should act, though, so those frequent "dawww, he thinks he's a real cat" moments don't really happen here. It is still super cute and fun and funny to play with the bears, but I prefer the cats. The bears do have a different personality from the cats, and act and react to the same old games and activities a little (sometimes a lot) differently, so even if you played with the cats a ton the bears do add a unique twist to everything that is worth seeing.
Graphics and Sound
Presentation-wise, Now With Bears picks up right where Kinectimals left off. The game just looks absolutely gorgeous with fuzzy great looking fur on the cubs and lush grass around the island to play in. The sound is also nice with catchy, fun music, great sound effects for the bear cubs, and surprisingly not annoying dialogue from Lina.
In the end, Kinectimals: Now With Bears is pretty easy to recommend. If you enjoyed Kinectimals, you'll enjoy playing with Now With Bears. The bear cubs offer just enough differences in terms of the island they live on, as well as their unique activities that even if you played Kinectimals too much there is still plenty to hook you all over again. If you never played Kinectimals, however, the Now With Bears disc version is definitely the way to go. It is a great kid and family-friendly game. And, honestly, it is a great game for older gamers as well if you have any sort of soft spot for cute fuzzy animals.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy