Kinect Sports Rivals Review

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Kinect Sports Rivals represents Microsoft’s first big game for its newly revamped Xbox One Kinect.  I can say the game surpassed my expectations.

I did not buy the Xbox One for its Kinect motion sensor capability.  I prefer a game with a controller in my hands.  Kinect Sports Rivals is not a game where you will be sitting on the couch with your joysticks however.

The game features six different sports set on an island.  You have your choice of bowling, jet ski racing, rock climbing, tennis, sharpshooting, and soccer.

I will get to each of the games later though.  The first thing the game wants from you is a scan of your face.  It asks for several different angles before producing a fairly accurate representation of you as a digital person.

The story is a loose way of introducing you to each of the sports and isn’t much to talk about.  The first game you play is the jet ski racing or “wave racing.”  It controls really well.  You make a fist like you’re gripping the throttle to go faster and open your fist to slow down.  What I liked about it was the turning.  You actually turn with your hands like on a handlebar.  You can get your body involved for tighter turns.  There are jumps that allow you to pull tricks and get Mario Kart style power-ups as well.  It’s a solid mini-game.

One of my favorite games from the original Kinect Sports title was bowling.  It always felt smooth and natural.  I expected much of the same in this title but was slightly disappointed.  It could have been user error but I found more often than not the game couldn’t read my wrists on spin shots.  As far as how it works it is very similar to Wii sports.

Tennis is an absolute blast to play with Kinect.  It picks up speed variation and spin really, really well.  I had a ton of fun with it.  It too, is similar to Wii sports with the exception that it’s all body controlled.  The feel of ripping a shot down the line was pretty gratifying.

The best game of the bunch is definitely rock climbing.  You reach up and to the sides to grab a ledge by closing your hand to grab it and then pulling your hand to your side to lift yourself up to the next spot.  The first couple run throughs are a breeze.  The game then adds in AI competitors who can knock you down (you can in turn pull them down too), wind gusts, and electrified ledge grips.  It worked well in multiplayer as well which is important for a game that is basically a party game style collection.  I never got sick of the motion control either.  It always worked well on this one.

Soccer is basically a rehash of the version from the last Xbox 360 Kinect Sports title.  You kick the ball directionally from one teammate to another until it’s time for a shot-on-goal.  For the actual shots, Kinect rarely executed the fancy spin kicks I wanted.  It’s just kind of a bland addition to what is overall, a really nice package.

The final game in the bunch is sharpshooting.  You point your finger like a gun and shoot targets.  It’s not a bad mini-game.  I liked that it is played competitively between two people trying to get the highest score in a timed round-by-round battle.  The Kinect play for it was quite responsive.

Overall, if you like using Kinect and want something a bit different for your Xbox One than Kinect Sports Rivals is a safe bet.  It gets you off the couch and into the game.  If you do pick it up, try the rock climbing because like I said, it’s really fun.  I recommend this game for families as well.  It’s extremely family friendly and encourages participation from all ages.  Only a couple Kinect related hiccups keep it from scoring even higher.


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