Kinect Review: Xbox 360 Kinect comes with Kinect Adventures, so it's easy to toss aside and focus on the other game you bought this device for, it's worth playing.
Just because Kinect Adventures comes as a pack-in title with Kinect doesn't mean it doesn't deserve to be reviewed. In fact, this motion-controlled mini-game collection is the most fun that I've had with the Xbox 360 accessory. That's not to say that there aren't other fun Kinect titles. Child of Eden and Gunstringer are also entertaining single-player games, and Dance Central 2 is a blast with two players. It's just that Child of Eden and Gunstringer lack multiplayer and Dance Central 2 doesn't break out of its rich, but narrowly-focused dance routine. That leaves Kinect Adventures as the proper blend of both multiplayer excitement and gameplay variety.
All five mini-games, some more addictive than others, Kinect Adventures are intuitive from the beginning for you and your friends - even without a natural controller. 20,000 Leaks, River Rush, Rally Ball, Reflex Ridge and Space Pop all show off the Kinect's capabilities in different ways. The collection starts off with 20,000 Leaks, which has you plugging leaks with your hands and feet while in an underwater glass cube. River Rush, meanwhile has you on the water's surface, placing you in an on-rails raft. Moving left and right will cause it to travel in that direction for collecting coins and sending the raft off ramps. Rally Ball puts a new spin on the classic Breakout by incorporating your arms, legs and head in ball-ricocheting, crate-breaking gameplay.
Reflex Ridge, the most active mini-game in the collection, puts you on a moving platform, which means you'll have to jump over low-lying obstacles, squat to avoid high-placed ridge, and dodge right and left blockades. Proper timing is essential in this challenging, but rewarding experience. Finally, you have Space Pop. It's kind of a letdown that this mini-game rounds out the collection because it's less exciting than the four other games. You simply move around a zero-gravity chamber and pop transparent bubbles flapping your arms and legs.
River Rush and Reflex Ridge are Kinect Adventure's standout games, but what makes the entire collection satisfying is that all of them can be played with a friend - and it's done using no-hassle drop-in, drop-out multiplayer. Just enter the camera's view and all of a sudden, the game makes room for a second person. So, not only does Kinect move away from controllers, it moves away from some of the hassle that we find in video game menus. Pretty amazing.
Another cool extra is that all five mini-games take photos of you three times during the course of each game. Afterward, photos of you and a buddy pop up, showing you in action and you can share them online - though they're usually too ridiculous to want to do that. For private viewing, this is a likeable feature that is reminiscent of hopping off of a Disneyland ride and seeing the results of your in-the-moment poses.