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Kinectimals

Kinectimals

November 4, 2010

Video Game Cat Review

Date of Review: August 3, 2012
Format Reviewed: Xbox 360
Language / Country of Origin: English / USA
Online Capability: None.
Awards: Alternative Edge Award 2010
Sequels: Kinectimals – Now With Bears.
Equipment Needed: Xbox 360, controller and Kinect sensor.
Maintenance Required: Adequate space is needed to play the game comfortably and accurately. The sensor needs to be positioned at the correct height.

Review:
Kinectimals
is just as cute as can be. It allows players to cross over into a realm of fantasy by caring for cat cubs that behave much like an excited puppy would. The tigers, panthers, leopards, etc. that you get to play with in this game are more furry than ferocious.

The basic gameplay of Kinectimals consists of you engaging in your choice of activities to earn points and level up to the next stage. Your cub will often suggest something to do by bringing you a toy or other object in his mouth, but you don’t have to pick what he’s presented unless you want to. You don’t even have to feed your cat on a regular basis unless you feel like it, but he will start to show signs of dirt accumulation after romping through the forest a few times.

If you select a toy to play with, a mini-game will launch that requires certain objectives in order for you to collect your points. It’s kind of odd that, for a lot of the toys, you’re not even interacting with your cub that much. Frisbees are meant for targets, not big cats, and so are water hoses, race cars and balls. The games can start to get rather dull and tedious, as the vast majority of them involve throwing X at something, but at least you can choose how to earn points on a whim if a game is boring you. Feeding, watering, bathing, brushing, petting and teaching your cub tricks can also be done to advance to the next stage.

Each gorgeous area has five stages that you must reach before you can move on to another location. The funny thing is, these checkpoints are just slightly more involved versions of the same mini-games you were playing to acquire points. This is where the multiplayer option comes into play, although you just take turns trying to score well in the games; there is no simultaneous action. Three different medal levels are yours for the taking, and each separate ranking unlocks a new toy or treat.

Despite the monotonous nature of some of the mini-games, Kinectimals is still very much worth a play. Where else will a tiger lick you and not eat you?

Plot:
Something to do with a pirate having hidden treasure and burying clues throughout the island. It’s not a very interesting plot; you may be tempted to skip through it.

Gameplay:
A combination of automatic cut scenes and navigation that responds to your hands and arms. Your cub will respond to tender strokes surprisingly well, but other movements (such as performing tricks) could use some work.

Cultural / Historical Value:
This was one of the first games to showcase the capability of the Kinect motion controls.

Teaching / Learning Characteristics:
The mini-games mainly involve mastering hand-eye coordination and not any real hard thinking. However, getting your cat (and the Kinect) to appropriately respond to you is a learning opportunity in itself.

Replay Value:
Not much past the standard attempts to score the highest in all the games. You will probably have had your fill of cuteness by the end of the storyline.

Likely Audiences:
Mainly kids, but animal-loving adults might like it as well.

Overall Score:
80/100

Other Reviews:
1up.com
Gamerankings
Gamespot
Metacritic
MobyGames

Awards

Award Giver Category Verdict
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2011Family Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2011Technical Innovation Nominee

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