Kinect PlayFit - First Impressions
Posted by Ken Barnes
Free. Worth every penny.
So, Kinect PlayFit has been out for about a week, and it seems that folks are racking up the burnt calories like there's no tomorrow.
The free app (available from your Xbox dashboard) tracks your play across 10 different Kinect titles, tracking how many calories you burn and awarding achievements and avatar awards based on your progress. The games featured are a hit-and-miss kind of bunch, and aren't exactly what one would call obvious choices.
Big League Sports, Deepak Chopra's Leela (Really?), Dance Central 2, Double Fine Happy Action Theater, Junk Fu, Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Kinect Sports Season 2, Kinect Star Wars, Let's Cheer!, Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 all pass data to the app, which allows you to compare how many calories you've burnt compared to your friends, and also compared to the app's worldwide average.
Gamerscore-hounds can get busy with the 20 available achievements, which range from the simple (burn 300 calories) to the Herculean (burn 100,000 between you and your friends.)
Kinect PlayFit is a good idea. It has the potential to get people playing, and may even breathe a little life into some of the older supported titles. But there needs to be more in the way of execution for my liking. Some players are reporting problems with certain titles (the dire Big League Sports, mainly) refusing to acknowledge that PlayFit is present. Others are bemoaning the lack of support for their favourite titles. And I can see their point. I mean, Deepak Chopra's Leela is a game that focuses on meditation. Exactly how many calories am I going to burn by playing that, do you think? I'd wager not many, and when you consider that most of the titles you'd WANT to be supported just aren't (adidas miCoach, UFC Fitness Trainer, The Biggest Loser, EA Sports Active 2, Rhythm Party), you have to consider that this is a lacklustre effort.
With downloadable updates promised, there's room for Microsoft to maneuver. As it stands though, you get what you pay for.