Kinectimals review [Windows Phone]

Reviews John Gaarde 08:58, 23 Dec 2011

We review Kinectimals, an attractive but shallow casual game from Frontier Developments

Kinectimals is a little sparse, but the integration with Xbox is clever

Kinectimals wouldn't have been in our top ten Xbox 360 games we'd like to see on Windows Phone, but that doesn't mean its appearance on the platform is unwelcome. Originally a Kinect launch title, the game struck a chord with many families for its approachable and fun virtual interactions and saccharine cuteness of the (incredibly dangerous, in real life) exotic cubs.

But strip away the ‘you are the controller' aspects of the game and you're left with merely a collection of shallow mini-games, otherwise known as Kinectimals for Windows Phone.

The concept should be familiar to those who have played the original - you pick from a selection of exotic cubs (leopards, cheetahs, lions etc) and are plonked down on what appears to be an abandoned island - no doubt because the residents heard some plonker was flying in with a collection of dangerous big cats in his holdall.

You start the game by (virtually) getting to know the dangerous, and disarmingly fluffy, creature by stroking the screen for what seems like an eternity. Once this getting to know you session is over (and you've bagged possibly the easiest achievement you'll ever get), it's on to the main bulk of the title - the minigames.

These consist either of learning new ‘tricks' or utilising said tricks in some form of activity - skipping, throwing a ball, etc. The tricks themselves consist entirely of stroking the screen in a certain pattern, like swiping up to cause your animal to jump, or sliding down to make it sit.

This would be all well and good, but the detection for some of the more elaborate patterns is extremely flaky. Swiping at the wrong speed won't register, neither will slight deviations from a straight line. Because certain activities require you to perform a series of tricks perfectly to pass, Kinectimals can be surprisingly frustrating for a game aimed at children.

These trick-based activities are the most entertaining of the selection though, as the other games are nothing to shout about. Tapping to skip over a magical floating rope is about as challenging as it sounds, while throwing a ball to your creature is made unnecessarily frustrating thanks once again to some odd swipe detection.

Scoring well in these minigames unlock new locations on the island and different breeds to play with, but progress is slow and these new elements don't bring anything new to the game other than a new creature to gawp at (and take photos of sitting by your desk chair).

Indeed, it's the features around the main game that are likely to be of most interest to Kinectimal fans. Transferring creatures over to the Xbox version is a clever idea, while the AR photo modes are a good usage of the new platform.

It's just a shame that the game itself is a little threadbare.


Reviewed On HTC 7 Mozart
Typical Price £2.29
Platform Windows Phone 7
Developer Frontier Developments
Publisher Microsoft Studios

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