It was only about fifteen years ago that the idea of a virtual pet involved a cheap Chinese-manufactured keyring and a dotted alien that required simply food, attention and sleep.

Now, we're presented with virtual feline-cubs that actually respond to our gestures. World gone mad we tell you. But has Kinectimals got enough about it to keep our attention once the Kinect-novelty wears off?

Well, read-on and find out.



What platform is it on?

Xbox 360

When's it due out?

10 November 2010

What other game is it like?

Petville, My Pet Dolphin

Does it use any new tech?

Yes - Microsoft Kinect

The pitch

When you meet your Kinectimals cub for the first time, something magical happens. A friendship is immediately formed, and you quickly begin imagining all the wonderful places you’ll explore and the curious things you’ll discover together. 

Kinectimals has five different exotic animals to choose from, each one of them more adorable than the next. Teach them commands, play with your animal and compete in contests. This is the beginning of a wonderful and lasting friendship.

The storyline

This is one of the Kinect launch titles, and arguably the most Wii-like (in that it's very kid-orientated). Raise and train your cub of choice and watch it evolve in the virtual world.

Our first impressions

Hey, let's not beat around the bush - Kinectimals is definitely one for the kids.

But that doesn't mean that adults won't be fascinated by this weird little game - the tech involved is just so amazing.

The fact that you can use your hands to interact with a virtual animal on screen, and the amount of different variations involved is simply staggering.

We tried out a demo stage with a young leopard cub and we were able to make him jump around, roll over, balance and do various other tricks.

The response to our hand gestures was brilliant - it was easy to get lost in the moment and actually feel a genuine connection with our on-screen feline-friend.

We also had a quick bash at a small obstacle course where we had to guide our little fellow around, which was a bit tricky to get the hang of at first but soon became a bit easy.

It was all a bit naff really, but impressive as well (if that's possible).

We can't see it holding an adults' attention for too long though once the novelty of the Kinect tech wears off. But kids will live that they can train their animal and see it virtually "evolve".

Please note

Gamescom is a fantastic chance to see the latest games due out over the coming year, letting us get a glimpse into what are going to be the big titles and the ones to avoid like the plague.

The big problem however, is that for most of the titles that glimpse is, well, just that. At the show you'll get to play a level here or a multiplayer map there.

So with that in mind we present you with our Quick Play.

What we've done is broken down the key facts you need to know and then given you our first impressions based on around 15 minutes of gaming. For us that 15 minutes isn't enough to do a First Look review. How can you rate a game that offers over 30 hours of gaming on just 15 minutes of play? However, it should hopefully give you an idea, a feeling, a notion, of what to expect come launch day.