Gaming Fit: Kinect Adventures!

Kinect_Adventures_coverI figured that since I was going to start trying out various fitness games and I own a Kinect, I should begin with the game that comes bundled with the all seeing eye of Sauron: Kinect Adventures!

This isn’t strictly a fitness game, but since it uses the Kinect to track full body motion while you play through its series of mini-games, it might as well be a fitness games, especially for those who might be just getting off the couch for the first time to try something like this out.

The Mini-Games

In 20,000 Leaks you are in a glass tank underwater, and the fish swim along every now and then, hit the glass and spring leaks. You then have to cover the leaks with your hand, or foot, or head, for just a second or two until it heals itself. Sometimes the leaks are “linked” with a crack and you have to cover all the linked holes at the same time. This is probably the lowest impact of the games. It doesn’t have any jumping or rapid movement, and is more about just quick reacting to whatever breaks in the glass show up. Some of the weakness of the Kinect shows here as sometimes when you have to step forward to reach a break on the floor, it doesn’t register your foot movement as well as it does hands and you end up stepping forward several times to get it in the right place.

Going from water to zero gravity, Space Pop is another low impact game as water bubbles float out from the floor, ceiling, the left and right walls, in two planes, a forward and back area. You flap your arms to float up, you hold your arms out to hover, and you drop your arms to your side to drop to the floor. The goal here is to float your body through the water bubbles and pop them, hence the name. This is only barely more work than the previous game, as flapping and holding your arms up requires just a little more energy, and you have to step left, right, forward and back a bit more. Oddly, the Kinect handles the movement here better than 20,000 Leaks, so maybe it’s just Leaks that is weak and not the Kinect.

Reflex Ridge takes things up a notch, a very small notch, by introducing jumping. Here you ride on a minecart-like wooden cart and have to maneuver by stepping left and right as well and ducking and jumping to avoid obstacles that come at you as you ride. And jumping also speeds you up. The jumping makes this a little more active, but the jumping is also completely optional.

My favorite of the games is Rally Ball. It’s like breakout in that you serve a ball at a wall trying to clear bricks and hit targets, then the ball comes back and you have to put your body in front of it to keep it in play. If you use your hands or feet to block then it’ll earn you an extra point, and if you actually swing your hand or kick the ball then you power up the ball to do extra damage. Some of the targets you hit can cause extra balls to come into play, which adds a level of frantic blocking and swinging. Now, I’m not in the best shape in the world, so this game winds me. But it’s a blast.

River Rush is probably the most intense of the game, but mostly because it involves a lot of jumping. This time you are in a raft heading down a river. You need to step left and right to steer yourself through gates for points, and you jump to get “big air” which you use to snatch points in the sky but also to take your raft up on ramps and platforms to get even more points. There is a lot of jumping here, so be careful with your knees.

And that’s it. Kinect Adventures! is just repeating these five games over and over at different levels of difficulty. Not the deepest or most exciting game, but it’ll get your on your feet and flailing around your living room, maybe breaking into a sweat while you do it.

The Shaming

Since the Kinect is a camera tracking your body movement, it also uses this feature to take photos of you while you play. So at the end of every game you get a nice little collection of you jumping around like a fool, that you can share with your friends.

Now, I had played this game before, but I had forgotten about the pictures, so was a little shocked when after I’d gotten a bit sweaty playing the first game and had stripped off my shirt, I got a beautiful collection of “fat me” photos. Ouch.

The Verdict

You aren’t going to become an Adonis playing Kinect Adventures! but it is a very low impact way to get yourself moving if you currently aren’t doing much moving at all. It’s a good place to start, but don’t hang out here too long or you may get bored.

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