Motion Explosion is a tough nut to crack. At first glance it seems like nothing more than another simple minigame compilation, and a sloppy one at that. It’s only after really looking at how the game presents itself and what it asks of you that you truly realise what game Majesco actually made.
Motion Explosion features 12 minigames that have you doing things like dodging moving walls, grabbing stars, playing hacky sack and controlling a robot using various arm and leg movements. None of them are particularly inventive and several seem lifted directly from Kinect Adventures. Each game has 10 levels of quickly escalating difficulty. Your performance in each game is rated from zero to three stars, depending on your score.
The thing about the minigames is that you don’t play them very long, about 45 seconds to a minute depending on the game. The first time you play, you’ll probably wonder why they made each game session so brief, but when you take into consideration that each level for each game is more or less exactly the same every time you play it, you realise that Motion Explosion is a game designed to keep you in pursuit of the perfect run, having you learn through repetition how to perform the best in those 45 seconds and maximise your score.
You'll get frustrated when you finish just shy of three stars, knowing you could have made it if you hadn’t hit that one wall that dropped your multiplier right at the end. That frustration will drive you to replay that run and keep trying until you’ve mastered it. Of course, after that there are 12 other games each with ten difficulty levels, so you’ve definitely got your work cut out for you.
The problem is that often small control issues will sour an otherwise flawless run. Didn’t jump quite high enough in your living room? You just ran into that row of bombs and killed your streak. Moved your arm slightly too far to the side? You just dropped the ball you were supposed to bounce; tough noogies. In a game that trains you to be perfect each time, having any kind of issue with control is catastrophic.
The game’s primary mode is Motion Mix, which randomly selects three minigames for you to play in a row. Depending on your score, you will “level up” with a max level of 20. Leveling up is a very slow process, so be prepared to sink a lot of time in if you’re dedicated to reaching the top of that mountain. If you’d prefer to pick which games you like or just don’t care about stats, Free Play will let you choose any of the ten levels of any minigame, and let you play with up to three friends to boot.
With such a strong emphasis on score and competition, you’d expect Motion Explosion to have a strong multiplayer component, but sadly it falls back to each player taking a turn while the others sit and wait. While this style of multiplayer can be fun in the right social setting, it’s a missed opportunity here. Adding a second player to some of the games and forcing players to work together would have added an entire new layer of fun that could have really pushed Motion Explosion over the top.
Minigames aside, Motion Explosion is quite appealing visually, with a bright and colorful aesthetic that gives a Nickelodeon game show vibe. The game also makes use of Avatars and gives them the best dance moves they’ve had since the days of 1 vs. 100. On the audio side of things the music is up tempo and appropriate, if not a little generic, and the announcer is cheerful and adds to the energetic feel of the game.
Motion Explosion isn’t going to win any awards for innovation, but that’s okay. The “score attack” mentality that the game embraces works in its favor and will keep many gamers busy as they aim for perfection. Control issues and the lack of true multiplayer keep this from being a definite recommendation, but at a budget price there’s enough good here to justify a purchase.