Published on December 29th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
The Staple to a Silly Good Time: Kinect Party Review
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox Kinect
Price: Free* for a limited time
There are few games that most people would consider “great Kinect titles.”
For starters, Kinect games usually come in two flavors: 1. Party Games and 2. On Rail Action/Adventure. Most gamers don’t give these a second look deeming themselves “Hardcore Gamers” who are too cool for that school.
Although these games don’t fit the standard video game mold for most out there, anyone who is open minded and simply looking for a fun game will find a buckets full of silliness in this augmented reality experience.
Last year, I had the opportunity to attend the Game Developer’s Conference. The event was filled with inspiration and knowledge for aspiring video game creators, and refinement for those who have already entered the industry.
Following the busyness of the day, there were a few guest speakers lined up to talk about “The Next Big Thing” that would hit the industry. One of which was a spokesperson from Zynga (funny how that played out) and the other was Drew Skillman, Lead Technical Artist at Double Fine Studios. The development studio was on the road to endear more success with the notoriety from its infamously successful Kickstarter project.
While I sat, recorded and listened, I didn’t know that Drew’s mention of “augmented reality” would grow into something as fun or as simple as the company’s Kinect Party offering.
The game can’t necessarily be called a game, but more like a digital activity chest. Early on it was shaped to be a sequel to the prior AR game, Happy Action Theater. The newly launched party game is somewhat of a follow up and now pits players to take part of this interactive TV show.
The game starts out having the involved party jump right into the action. The “channels” are changed each few moments, allowing enough time to get fully involved in the activities on screen. If you’ve played Happy Action Theater, you’ll find that some of the activities are the same/similar and just as fun. Who doesn’t want to wear a hot dog suit or be swallowed up whole by a giant monster? Thought so.
There are options to change the automatic play and single activities can be selected. This is great for keeping damn near anyone involved in the action, from kids to adults. It was easy for me and a buddy to act like kids again as we batted bouncing balls around the room and swatted helicopters out of the air. The fun can be found in the game and as you look over at how goofy your partner is lookin’ right about…now.
As stated before, it is hard to call Kinect Party a “game”. Some areas are as silly as placing you in a giant bathtub while soap suds and water pours everywhere. Other times, crazy on screen visualizations transform you into a dancing machine, moving your lower body to the beat and giving you a fighting chance to look like a professional dancer. Crazy warped kaleidoscope scenes might take your parents back to love and peace, while others literally make your living room into a lava flooded tomb.
Hands down the best thing about Kinect Party is its accessibility. The game launched for free and has the possibility to deliver hours of fun. The wonderment of technology is at the core of video game consoles, not to mention the Kinect. Video games have the ability to transform and transport players to another realm and become someone else. Delivering an augmented reality experience takes that concept one step further by providing a physical environment for your body to jump into.
I didn’t want to go into much detail about the activities in the game. Some of which are ones you’ve just got to experience for yourself, laughing out loud the whole way through. There are plenty, 36 in fact, to keep you busy. I did like the fact that you can share your experiences and images on Facebook via the in game share feature. Pictures taken with giant dragon heads that are breathing fire or magic wands spewing stardust will no doubt give your friends a nice giggle.
The game features co-op, which essential fits more people into the frame. This can be fun, but almost deadly, due to the Kinect’s space requirement. Even in my somewhat spacious living room, furniture has to be moved to get the full effect. Bringing more people in is better, but can be a hassle at times.
The only real gripe I have about the game is the length in which you are stuck in each activity. As I was playing with someone else that was fairly new to the game, it felt as though I was ready to move on to the next activity being that some didn’t take much more than thirty seconds to get acquainted with. I would have liked to be able to set a better timer for these and jam right through. This could be good for those parents trying to jam through each section for variety purposes.
Kinect Party is an action, adventure, and simply fun, game rolled into one. There is enough content here to keep even the craziest kid with attention deficit having a blast. If you are attempting to host a New Year’s or work party, there is no doubt that Kinect Party could be included as a staple to your good time.
If you have some free time or are simply looking to lift your spirits this Holiday Season, do yourself a favor and head on over to the Xbox LIVE Arcade and download this game. You won’t be disappointed and seriously, what have you got to lose? It’s free.
The game truly brings to light what Drew Skillman touched on with the mention of augmented reality, being that, players are now fully apart of the world that they have now been transported to providing the next big thing. That big thing just happens to be good old fashioned FUN.
+ Fun Factor
+ / – Replay Value
– Timed activities
– Activities similar in Happy Action Theater