Any Kinect game that lets you play a swashbuckling cat should have your attention, and Puss in Boots manages to overcome its obvious handicap of being a movie tie-in to result in one of the more enjoyable action games available on Kinect.
With several styles of gameplay to sample, from sword fighting and bar room brawling to stealthy sneaking, the game takes you through the story of the film as you battle pirates and big bosses. Combat is particularly enjoyable: enemies come at you one at a time and will generally block if you simply flail your sword around, but the background holds the key to victory. Several glittering spots lurk around each battle — send an enemy careening into them with a well-timed kick and you'll soon gain the upper hand. This blend of physical exertion and spacial awareness is a welcome attempt at creating an engaging and accessible fighting style that really works.
While it doesn't give you the sensation of being a powerful hero like PowerUp Heroes, the game does an admirable job of putting you in the boots of its lithe feline hero. Within the first ten minutes you'll find yourself sword fighting, kicking, jumping, climbing and playing the guitar and all with the greatest of ease. The latter is a real treat: kick an enemy into a guitar and reach both hands upward to start strumming away, coercing your enemies into dancing before you smash the six-string over their heads.
Outside of battle there's plenty to see and do, with posters and cartoons to unlock to keep you playing. Not that you'll struggle to find reasons: within half an hour you'll realise what a joy the game is to play, with a well-pitched difficulty level and enough variety to keep you interested while still feeling coherent.
Varied graphics keep things motoring too, with Spanish villages, rooftops, pirate ships and hotels to race through. In-game cut scenes are well handled too, and while they obviously can't quite match the visual quality of the movie you'll still feel part of the Dreamworks universe, with good animation and detail throughout.
One of the better movie to game conversions of recent times, Puss in Boots is ideal for Kinect and is great fun both to watch and play. Sword fighting can get a little repetitive despite the numerous moves at your disposal, but overall it's a well designed and highly enjoyable game.