Apr 1, 2011

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5 Upcoming Games Worth Dusting Off Your Kinect For

5 Upcoming Games Worth Dusting Off Your Kinect For

While there’s no denying the success Microsoft has had with it’s Kinect peripheral, the fact of the matter is that there’s an extreme lack of quality titles.  Kinect has become one of the fastest selling pieces of hardware in recent years, racking up over 10 million sales since its launch last fall.  Microsoft has promised more high-profile games this year, but outside of the launch titles Dance Central, Kinect Sports, and Kinectimals, there really isn’t anything worth picking up.  While many have already cursed their $150 piece of equipment, a few marquee titles are set to release this year that hopefully can help justify our purchases.   Below are five games that you should keep your eyes on.


5. Michael Jackson: The Experience (April 15)

Easily the most recognizable game on this list, Ubisoft is hoping to mimic the success Harmonix had with Dance Central late last year.  While Michael Jackson: The Experience already released in 2010 for the Wii (and DS), the Kinect version brings some new features to the table.  Armed with a microphone, players not only copy the King of Pop’s moves, but attempt to sing along to hit songs like “Billie Jean” or “Thriller.”  Unlike other dance titles, the Kinect shows the player on screen in front of back-up dancers and familiar backgrounds.  Even if you aren’t a fan of most dancing games, there’s no denying the allure of mimicking Michael Jackson and watching friends and family attempt to do the same.

4. Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster (Fall 2011)

One of the biggest complaints people have with motion gaming is that it tends to be a platform for family-friendly shovelware.  If this is the case, why should you be excited for a game based on one of the longest-running kids’ educational program?  The reason is that this game is being developed by Tim Schafer and Double Fine, creators of the under-appreciated Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, and the recently released Stacking. The game plays out like a storybook, with each chapter tasking players with solving different monster’s problems.  Obviously, the game is geared towards children, but there’s no reason that parents shouldn’t enjoy it as well.  Especially given the history of rich worlds Schafer has helped create, this could be one of the surprise hits this year.  If I haven’t piqued your interest, maybe you should check out the trailer for yourself.

3. Rise Of Nightmares (November 11)

When the Kinect was initially announced as Project Natal, many gamers dreamt of fully immersed worlds explored through a first-person perspective.  While we’re probably years from a true controller-free FPS, Rise Of Nightmares is going to try to fill the void.  Sega has already released a creepy trailer, but not too many details have been revealed as of yet.  From the looks of the screenshots, it’s easy to assume the game will have an on-rails approach not unlike Sega’s own House of the Dead franchise.  However, rumor has it that the game will have free-movement-based controls, and if Sega somehow manages to pull it off, we may be looking at the start of more hardcore Kinect titles.

2. Gunstringer (2011)

From the studio that brought us The Maw, Splosion Man, and Comic Jumper, comes The Gunstringer. This platformer/shooter hybrid developed by Twisted Pixel is set to release this Spring for XBLA.  You control the Gunstringer on a quest for revenge against a posse that left him for dead.  The game actually looks as if it takes place on stage, which is fitting, since players control the character like a marionette.  Players use their left hands for movement and their right for targeting.  One significant change from other Kinect titles is the ability to play while sitting down.  While there are no demos out for the public yet, Kotaku has had time with the game and stated that it “looks to continue the fun, funny, and funky flavor that Twisted Pixel is known for, now offering a better excuse to buy a Kinect.”  If Twisted Pixel’s other offerings are any indication, we may be looking at one of the funniest and most creative titles of 2011.

1. Child of Eden (June 11)

Originally scheduled for a March release, Child of Eden comes from the studio that brought you stylized titles Rez and Lumines. Players are thrown into battle to save Project Lumi, a mission to reproduce a human personality in Eden, the archive of human memories.  Eden is unfortunately invaded by a virus, and armed with either a 360 controller or the Kinect, you must restore the peace.  This on-rails shooter looks very promising in trailers, with each enemy shot producing a musical note, not unlike Rez. While only five levels have been announced, each level is unique in visual style and will change depending on the player’s previous performance.  As stated above, the game can be controlled by traditional controllers, but Ubisoft has said “the game is better with Kinect!”  Hopefully, they’re right, and come June we’ll be treated to one of the most visually appealing games of the year.

Other notable titles:

  • Virtua Tennis 4
  • Forza Motorsport 4
  • Star Wars Kinect
  • Steel Battalion Heavy Armor
  • Heavy Fire: Afghanistan

While these games may not be heavy hitters like Call of Duty or Halo, hopefully I’ve brought some good looking games to your attention.  Let us know which one looks the most promising in the comments below.