If we were to ask you to pretend to drive a car right now you would put two hands out in front of you as if you were holding a wheel. You might even go as far as to pretend to turn it from left to right, tilting your whole body as you did so. That’s basically the premise of Kinect Joy Ride, one of Microsoft’s launch titles for its Kinect for Xbox 360 sensor, but while it might work in the R&D lab, does it work in the home? We've been racing around the living room to find out.
One of the only Kinect games that you can actually play sitting down (albeit on the edge of your seat), Kinect Joy Ride offers a number of different racing modes in the hope of bringing you back for more.
With the aid of the Kinect sensor you steer your way around tracks using your body. Stretching your arms out in front of you, holding an imaginary steering wheel, so there is no need for the controller. Here, it means leaning to the right or left to drift around corners quicker, and pulling back your hands and pushing them forward to perform a boost.
We found for best results, rather than flailing around in front of the TV like an idiot, you have to make your moves purposeful to work. Braking and accelerating are controlled by the game, and while this makes it easier to get involved, those who enjoy their racing game will soon become frustrated.
Pro Race, Battle Race, Xbox LIVE Race, Smash, Stunt, Dash, and Trick are the different modes that are available and all are self explanatory. Battle Race gives you a Mario Kart-style experience while Stunt sees you contorting your body in various ways to perform stunts on screen (twisting, spinning, rolling, and posing).
The game is designed to keep you coming back for more by enticing you to play over and over again, and the Kinect Joy Ride balances rewards well and the game is designed to let you progress through the variety of courses and cars fairly quickly. The better you do, the more fans you collect, the more you get the more is unlocked.
While all this is going on, the Kinect for Xbox 360 sensor is tracking your every move, oh and taking pictures of you. Once you’re done you can view back those pictures before sending them on to your friends. Why you would want to do this we aren’t so sure, however we are sure that it will appeal to someone.
The camera is also handy for changing the colour of your car, and one of the cool uses of the technology is that you can grab anything in your house, flash it in front of the sensor camera and change your vehicle to that colour. Want it the brown of your sofa? No problem. What about the blue of the shirt you are wearing? Yep, you can have that too.
Kinect Joy Ride isn’t the best racing game available on the platform, but it is one that shows that you don’t need to be a master at the controller to get around the track.
While racing fans will class this as mindless drivel, where the game succeeds in the battle modes and the online play possibilities.
It’s frivolous fun for after school. As long as you expect nothing more than that, you’ll enjoy every minute.