Konami has entered the Kinect market with Adrenalin Misfits, a snow/hover boarding title aimed more toward younger gamers. But like many other Kinect games, this racer suffers from a laggy control scheme.
The goal of the game is to reach the finish in the shortest amount of time while performing tricks along the way. There are a few different modes to choose from, but that is only after they become unlocked by completing the tutorial session. However, the tutorial isn’t as long or as cumbersome as in Sonic Free Riders and the player is actually rewarded with Achievement points making it an easy pill to swallow.
Unlike most of Kinect games, menu navigation works fairly well although it requires an extra bit of energy and shifting left and right can be a bit touchy.
(I also find it upsetting that I have to mention menu navigation in a review, a task that should take minimal effort and something that all gamers have taken for granted through decades of gameplay, but menu navigation is a major concern for Kinect software.)
Like Sonic Free Riders, you control your on-screen avatar by moving your body in a skateboard-like way. Bending, tilting, jumping, foot stomping, and twisting makes your character perform a given action, but the lag is the game’s biggest flaw. Because of the delay between your body action and what happens on screen, it is not uncommon to over steer which can easily cause your racer to bump into walls or travel to undesired locations. This lag is even shown to the player as there is always a little silhouette of your body in the upper corner of the screen – it moves after you do.
But even though there is a delay in reaction time, there are also common instances when your actions will not be picked up with the Kinect sensor even when using large over-the-top motions, like trying to boost off the starting line, stomping to use an item, or performing tricks in the air. In short, the controls are by far the game’s biggest frustration. But for what it is worth, all movement and control is much more tolerable than Sonic Free Riders. Weapons and items are used in Mario Kart fashion, but they do not really add strategic element to the game. It is much more of a random occurrence to use or get hit by an attack than it is to plan when to use a specific item accordingly. The player will battle turning and steering more than the weapons of opponents.
Course design is also on the shorter side and lacks any kind of hairpin or sharp curves simply due to the nature of the control scheme. The characters are also generic and try to make an entertaining statement by wearing outlandish outfits and being introduced with a high def FMV. And like Sonic Free Riders, there is plenty to unlock, including new characters, boards and tracks, but reaching all this tucked away content will take a higher degree of dedication. There are some nice touches, like the game displaying randomly taken pictures of the player at the end of the race, but this idea was stolen from Kinect Adventures. The multiplayer mode isn’t anything revolutionary but provides a little bit more replay value.
Considering that this is a launch Kinect title, the graphics are not that bad – everything looks nice on a high def system. But the character designs are stereotypical monsters that any high school art student could have come up with. There is an announcer that gives a generic play-by-play during each match too. This surfer dude dialect quickly becomes annoyance and unnecessary. And I have never heard the term “babies” so much in all my life.
Although the Kinect has only been released for a short time period, it is already becoming a haven for Wii-like shovelware composed of little more than gimmicky dance tutorials, weight trainers, and downhill racers. The biggest difference between Wii crappy mini game compilations and Kinect software is price – you are going to pay more for a Kinect product. Adrenalin Misfits is basically what you would assume for a launch title of a new system. It means well, but falls short of being that fun killer app that you hoped for. If this was a cheaper XBLA title, for example, it would have fared much better than a full retail purchase, but it can still provide an hour or two of fun with your new Kinect hardware.
Better Than: Sonic Free Riders
Also Try: SSX Tricky
Wait For It: Metal Gear Solid Kinect
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