Reviews

Latest Reviews

  • Review The Gunstringer (Xbox 360)

    A fistful of crazy

    You'd be hard-pressed to find a development studio with more spring in their step than Twisted Pixel or a game with such joie de vivre as The Gunstringer. Where a lesser studio may have slapped some skeletal cowboy puppets into a Kinect-enabled rail shooter and called it a day, Twisted Pixel snatches the western marionette theme...

  • Review Rise of Nightmares (Xbox 360)

    Shocking?

    Kinect has been on the market for a less than a year, and in that time has amassed no fewer than six dancing games, five fitness titles and an alarming number of minigame compilations, but where are the more mature titles for single players after a story? Rise of Nightmares may not completely fill the gap, but it'll do in a pinch. The...

  • Review Champion Jockey (Xbox 360)

    Cracking the whip

    Admit it. The concept of a horse riding simulator isn’t instantly appealing. When you consider that the medium of video gaming allows us to explore unlikely fantasies and pretend to be characters we could scarcely dream of becoming in real life, it makes you wonder who in their right mind would want to step into the grass-soiled...

  • Review Kinect Fun Labs: Air Band (Xbox 360)

    A musical joke?

    After Kinect Sparkler turned out to be rather dim, the second paid addition to Kinect Fun Labs is here in the much more pleasing form of Air Band, which lets you become a musical ensemble with just your bare hands. You and a friend can jump in to one of five musical styles — disco, rock, pop, latin and country — and mime playing...

  • Review Hole in the Wall (Xbox 360)

    Bring on the wall!

    Hole in the Wall is as simple as a game title can get; a wall with a hole in it comes hurtling towards your Avatar. As the player, you must use your body to fit through these holes and avoid being knocked into a pool of water behind you. There are two main modes of play on show; Quick Survival and Show. Quick Survival mode fires...

  • Review Fruit Ninja Kinect (Xbox 360)

    Juiced up

    In an age where smartphone advocates are gloomily predicting the End of Days for dedicated home consoles, it’s incredibly ironic that one of the best-selling iPhone and Android titles of all time (over 20 million downloads, and rising) is made even more compelling by its fusion with Microsoft’s home console-based Kinect peripheral...

  • Review Avatar Superstar (Xbox 360)

    Lacks the X factor

    It feels unfair being overly critical of an Xbox Live Indie game. For a measly 80 Microsoft Points you know you're not going to get an experience on-par with the best games out there, but we must still be truthful in our critique of Avatar Superstar. The screenshots and branding suggest that this is a karaoke experience, whereas...

  • Review Kinect Fun Labs: Kinect Sparkler (Xbox 360)

    Fizzles out

    Kinect Fun Labs is a set of interesting toys, tools and gadgets designed to show off what Kinect can do, and while the service started off free, it's now embracing paid add-on content with Kinect Sparkler. While the price is a measly 240 Microsoft Points, however, it's still expensive for the content. Kinect Sparkler is a doodle pad,...

  • Review Wipeout In the Zone (Xbox 360)

    Good grief

    Few things in life are as satisfying as some good ol’ schadenfreude, and the producers of hit ABC show Wipeout know that more than anyone: it’s like an obstacle course interpretation of home-movie clip shows where everyone gets knocked in the balls — fitting, as the most iconic obstacle is a set of huge red balls. There's a...

  • Review Let's Dance with Mel B (Xbox 360)

    Zig-a-zig arrggh

    Every Kinect sold comes with a demo of Dance Central tucked away on the Kinect Adventures disc, meaning everyone has a chance to play the sensor's best dancing game by far. Now you have the chance to play one of its worst, Let's Dance with Mel B. We've always had a nagging feeling that developer Lightning Fish Studio overachieved...

  • Review UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System (Xbox 360)

    Muscle bound?

    Quite why it's taken so long to combine the testosterone-fuelled sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) with fitness software is beyond us; the predominantly female-targeted exercise game may rule the sales roost, but with UFC rapidly gaining popularity the two mediums have finally come together in UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness...

  • Review Child of Eden (Xbox 360)

    A real trip

    It's been far too easy to overlook Kinect as a valuable, or even viable, addition to traditional gaming in its first year of commercial life. Far too little of its catalogue so far has amounted to anything more than bite-sized experiences that only go to show that, why yes, you can kick an air football in your living room, without...

  • Review Kung Fu Panda 2 (Xbox 360)

    Not so awesome

    Faced with all sorts of different platforms and peripherals, THQ made the bold decision not to make just one game for the Kung Fu Panda 2 licence, but four entirely different ones to play to console strengths. PlayStation 3 got the most "sequel-y" version with a traditional gamepad-based adventure; both the DS and WIi...

  • Review Virtua Tennis 4 (Xbox 360)

    Anyone for tennis?

    Last year's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I was the first game branded "Better with Kinect Sensor" but it proved to be anything but. Now the second green-box-purple-stripe game has landed in the sporty form of SEGA's Virtua Tennis 4, but does it fare any better as a sensor game? If you want to play with...

  • Review Fantastic Pets (Xbox 360)

    Best in show or just plain no-show?

    Frontier Developments' Kinectimals captured most of the cuddly critter market last year, with its furry felines pouncing on decent scores in the gaming press and good sales at retail. Six months on, THQ is hoping for similar levels of success with Fantastic Pets, but it can't top the best in show. Fantastic Pets...

  • Review Michael Jackson: The Experience (Xbox 360)

    Thriller?

    Michael Jackson's videos and stage shows were extravagant affairs — his Dangerous live show ended with him flying off in a jetpack — so the idea of letting gamers enter that fantasy world is a proposition too enticing to resist for Jackson fans. That's exactly where Ubisoft's Michael Jackson: The Experience wants to put you: centre...

  • Review Carnival Games - In Action! (Xbox 360)

    All the fun of the fair

    Kinect's already got a reputation for being home to some awful minigame compilations, with dross like Game Party in Motion and Deca Sports Freedom like a lead weight on the overall quality of the sensor's gaming catalogue. You'd be forgiven, then, for expecting Carnival Games: In Action (also known as Carnival Games: Monkey...

  • Review Yoostar 2 (Xbox 360)

    Reel deal?

    Acting and singing have a lot in common: plenty of people believe they do them brilliantly, and the speed with which celebrities flit between both disciplines would have you believe they’re easy. As anyone who’s listened to a loved one murder a beloved song at karaoke will tell you, singing is best left to the professionals, yet games...

  • Review Brunswick Pro Bowling (Xbox 360)

    Gutter ball

    Say you had a bowling game strongly rooted in realism that goes through the trouble of including life-like physics, online play and even replicating lane oil patterns for an extra bit of strategy. Now, say you wanted to make it as difficult as possible to actually play. What would you do? You do a poor job of bringing that game to...

  • Review Dr Kawashima's Body and Brain Exercises (Xbox 360)

    Grey matters

    The original Dr Kawashima's Brain Training on Nintendo DS started a revolution back in the day: suddenly game developers realised they could tap into a brand new market of buyers eager to kickstart their cerebral centres, and a host of copycat titles emerged over the next few years. With Kinect ready-made for this same market, it's no...

  • Review Def Jam Rapstar (Xbox 360)

    Rap karaoke ain't nuthing ta #$*! wit

    Between Rock Band and Guitar Hero, music fans looking for a game focused largely on rock, metal, punk and whatever else you can bang out with a guitar, a bass, a drummer and a vocalist have been pretty well covered. There have been a few deviations into other genres, like Activision's rather splendid DJ Hero...

  • Review Deca Sports Freedom (Xbox 360)

    When sports compilations go bad

    Sports compilations are quickly becoming a dime-a-dozen when it comes to showing off new motion-sensing technology. Rare's Kinect Sports did a nice job of showing off some of Kinect's impressive features, and now Hudson has decided to bring its oft-forgotten Deca Sports (known as Sports Island in Europe) series to...

  • Review Game Party in Motion (Xbox 360)

    Motional breakdown

    Kinect's marketing would have you believe the system is a game-changer, bringing new ways of interaction to the home and banishing uninvolving, inaccurate and unplayable minigame compilations to the darkest depths of history. Then along comes Game Party in Motion, lurching to the sensor like a rotting cadaver, leaving only...

  • Review Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Xbox 360)

    Back of the class

    There’s no shortage of good fitness games for Kinect from EA, Ubisoft and more, but Zumba Fitness: Join the Party is the only one based on a real-life dancing craze. For those in the dark, Zumba is a fitness programme based on high-energy rhythms that’s designed to be taken in large classes, but how does it translate to a...

  • Review Get Fit With Mel B (Xbox 360)

    Hot and spicy

    Kinect is already awash with fitness games from most major publishers – THQ’s The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout, EA’s EA Sports Active 2 and Ubisoft’s Your Shape: Fitness Evolved have all launched in the sensor’s first few weeks on sale, but now relative minnow Black Bean Games has entered the fray with Get Fit with Mel B...

  • Review Adrenalin Misfits (Xbox 360)

    From X-Game Hell they came

    Kinect and snowboarding should go together like peanut butter and chocolate, yet out of the gate riding sports have fallen closer to the experience of discovering Vegemite on the floor: a (very) select (and brave) few will be able to wring some enjoyment out of the likes of SEGA’s Sonic Free Riders and Konami’s...

  • Review EA Sports Active 2 (Xbox 360)

    Fitness with a little slickness

    This is the first time since Kinect’s launch we’ve had to say this, but when playing EA Sports Active 2, you’ll need a controller in your hand. Not to engage in any of the 70 exercises, which are all operated completely controller-free, but rather to navigate the wealth of menu and options screens that stand...

  • Review DanceMasters (Xbox 360)

    Are you a master of dance?

    DanceMasters (known as DanceEvolution in Europe) is about as hardcore a dancing title as you can get on Kinect right now, moulded from decades of experience ruling the neon-lit arcades in downtown Tokyo. Some will find themselves drawn into its fast-paced world of J-pop and over-complicated gameplay concepts, but the...

  • Review Dance Paradise (Xbox 360)

    Dance into the fire

    Someone wise once said that ‘dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another’, but regrettably Dance Paradise dances with neither fancy footwork nor any heart. Instead it hopes you, the player, will be too drunk to notice its underwhelming gameplay. It doesn’t help that it’s directly up against...

  • Review Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (Xbox 360)

    The spell is broken

    After almost a decade of trying, one would assume that by EA would have nailed the perfect Harry Potter game. Since the launch of the first movie tie-in way back in 2001 – on the original 32-bit PlayStation, no less – there have been numerous missteps, false dawns and crushing disappointments, all of which have been made that...