Kinectimals

So you’ve got the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 and you’re looking for games to play. But is Kinectimals just about stroking a small lion club that lives in your screen, or something more? Read on to find out.

Kinectimals is, as the name suggests, a fusion of Kinect and animals, and focuses around you going to a secret island to interact with a bunch of cubs. Devoid of worries about where their parents are, why you can’t feed them, and not really being bothered if you abandon them for any real length of time, think of your new friend as a virtual pet you’re about to spend a lot of time with.

After an initial gambit by a flying lemur, you’ve got to choose the cub that will be your friend. There are panthers, lions, tigers, and the possibility of more to come (you can buy real plush dolls with new characters that you scan in front of your Kinect to add them). Once you’ve chosen your new friend it’s time to play, and play you will, because that’s pretty much all there is to do.

Just like The Sims, this is a game that will consistently have you playing just a little longer to get experience points, which in turn unlock new tricks, new toys to play with and new areas to play in. The more you play, the more you open up the game and so it continues until you realise that you’ve lost an evening playing with a virtual cat.

It’s all about teaching tricks and having fun. Of course this being Kinect, those tricks aren’t about mastering a series of button combos, but performing a series of physical movements in front of your TV. Jump up in the air and your cat will do the same, lay down on the floor of your living room and you’ll find your cat playing dead too.

It’s very clever stuff with your movements relating to movements (or tricks as the game likes to call them) on the screen and shows you the potential Kinect has. But it’s not just about playing dead, or performing a star jump - a happy pastime if ever there was one - but throwing balls, knocking down blocks, and driving cars, and of course petting your new friendly cub by reaching out with your hands and doing just that.

These mini games, where you get to compete for medals that ultimately allow you to progress through the game to different areas of the island can be either seen as an annoying aside or the main reason you are here. You see, apart from these mini games, there is very little to Kinectimals other than just enjoying something that ultimately doesn’t build to much.

Of course, if all this sounds a little pointless, that’s because it’s not really aimed at you - well unless you are a 9-year-old girl.

That’s right your daughter, or your friend's daughters are going to go crazy-gaga over Kinectimals and the funny part is, you’ll probably enjoy watching them play. The graphics are good, the possibilities are good, and the gameplay teasing enough to make them want to keep playing.

Verdict

Kinectimals is one of those titles that you’ll probably want to get because it’s cute, and because it’s one of the launch games you’ve heard so much about. If you’ve got cash to burn and are looking for a way to show off your impressive new bolt-on to your Xbox 360 this is certainly one way to do it.

The game is well made, if not a little condescending from time to time, and there is enough here if you like mini-games and that Sims-like experience of always having a new goal that is just around the corner.

This isn’t for you if you like fast action, guns blazing, driving away from the cops kind of games.

While you might just about muster up enough excitement to think about enjoying it, your young kids definitely will, so much so that you’ll probably struggle to get them off it just like you did Nintendogs (this is so much better).

If you’re needing an excuse to get Kinect for the family for Christmas, this is one of the games you will need to include under the Christmas tree.

Check out our Kinect for Xbox 360 review.