Platform: Xbox 360 Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios Developer: Frontier Developments PEGI Rating: 3+ Players Offline: 1 Genre(s): Virtual Pet
Supported Controllers (hover for description)
Here at Everybody Plays, we saved the best Kinect title for last - today's Kinect title is none other than Kinectimals, a game which lets you have your very own pet tiger (or other big cat), using Microsoft's new Kinect sensor - a 'camera' that scans your entire body and uses that as the controller for the game.
When you first start Kinectimals, you have to make a (rather hard) decision of which of the five big cats you want to start with - will you pick a bengal tiger, panther, cheetah, leopard or lion? And if that decision wasn't bad enough, then you need to decide on a name for your new cub...
Kinectimals seems to have more than just your average pet simulator, with over 600 unlockables, a customisable home for your Kinectimal, as well as a whole host of places to explore, from ancient ruins to a city frozen in ice - on your way to solving the mystery of the 'Legend of Felis Aurum', otherwise known as the 'Golden Cat'. And that's on top of the various mini games you can play with your Kinectimal.
Needless to say, when we recently got a chance to have a go on Kinectimals, we were quite excited (having always been secretly jealous of Jasmine in Aladdin for having a pet tiger). Well - technically it was multiple goes, over separate days. We're not addicted in the slightest.
First, we picked our Kinectimal (a tiger on the first day, and a lion on the second), which quickly demanded a fuss - which involves moving your hands (which moves the on screen pair) to stroke your tiger cub. After a short time, the tiger walked off - seemingly satisfied with our stroking - to fetch a toy. These toys are used to initiate the various mini games included in Kinectimals. Obviously my Kinectimal didn't like me much, deciding to bring the obstacle course toy out, so I could embarrass myself in front of a whole load of random other journalists.
The obstacle course sees you playing as your Kinectimal - or at least doing the actions for him to copy to get past the various obstacles - which ranged from sticking your arms out to balance as you traversed narrow balance beams, to leaping in the air in real life, to get your cat to jump, to crouching down to the floor, in order to get him through a tunnel. None of which I did phenomenally well. My Kinectimal nearly made it to the end of the beam before it toppled over and he fell on the floor, but most of the jumps I didn't jump in time for (more on this later), and my Kinectimal seemingly ignored me ducking to go through the tunnel.
I was tempted to put this down to me sucking at games - until the man who was showing us the game happened to mention in passing that there were (not very obvious) markers, placed just before the obstacle, that you needed to do each action at. We then proceeded to ace the obstacle course the following day.
Notice the little upright 'peg' thing a bit behind the obstacle - you need to jump at this point, otherwise your Kinectimal won't make it.
We also had a go at teaching the Kinectimal tricks - such as jumping, or standing upright on two legs. If you jump, your Kinectimal will try and copy you - although, initially, he's a bit useless, landing in a crumpled heap on the floor. Our Kinectimal was a rather fast learner (the learning process had been sped up for the purpose of the demo) - having nailed the jump trick in just three or four goes. Obviously, this would take longer in the full game, otherwise you could just zoom through, teaching your Kinectimal every trick in the book without much problem.
Because the Kinect sensor includes built in microphones, your Kinectimal can respond to your voice commands - you can tell him to sit, lie down or get up, and he'll do what you tell him - and even in the relatively noisy pod we managed to get our Kinectimal to do what we want a couple of times, so it should work quite well. Better than I could ever get my Nintendog to listen anyway, seeing as he just used to ignore me. Maybe tigers just have better hearing.