Sometimes you can’t beat a good old drive. The adrenaline fuelled sport for every red-blooded male, and the relaxing hobby for every lady who believes she is just as good as a man behind the wheel. Get real. Kinect Joyride, on the other hand, is so accessible that even my Nan could play it, kids – welcomed; mums – welcomed; nobody is excluded from the fun and games that Joyride boasts.
Kinect Joyride is riddled with colourful environments, diverse tracks, and plenty of vehicles to race with, there’s a lot of choice and, based on looks alone, Kinect Joyride makes a lasting impression with superb graphics and catchy background music. On the surface, Kinect Joyride sets out to please, and for a large portion if its audience, it probably will – a slightly backhanded statement I know, but when you consider that the basics of this game are also the foundation, and the extent of the entire gameplay, you start to worry when the replay value of this title will taper off, crash and burn.
Basically Kinect Joyride is simplified in such a way that anybody can join in. You merely hold your hands out to grab an imaginary wheel – and then to steer your car as you might imagine, you turn your hands as if you would a wheel. There’s no denying that this is ingenious, and incredibly easy to pick up and jump in – even after a few glasses of dry white wine. To add a new layer to this, players can also charge up a speed boost by bringing the “wheel” gesture back into their chest, and then pushing forward back into the driving position to release the boost. You can also drift by throwing your hip out while turning, and pull little stunts in your cart by jumping about whilst in the air on screen. There’s nothing too it then, and like I said, even 90-year-old Nan could have a laugh with this title.
While Kinect Joyride’s biggest praise is that it is simple however, it’s also its biggest downfall. Surely a game that uses an advanced piece of technology like the Kinect shouldn’t be so simple – and since when did we praise games for allowing us to be so lazy? It’s nonsense! The fact that the game is so simple takes away the feeling of actually racing at all – I mean, for starters, the game will accelerate and break for you, and the only control you have over the speed is if you decide to execute a boost, and even then, it’s very short lived. I honestly haven’t felt this restricted since the last time I rode a bus!
With acceleration removed, you’d better hope that the controls are up to scratch – and for the most part, Kinect does a good job of recognising your hand gestures with minimal lag – easy to boost, easy to steer and comical to pull off air stunts. But sometimes, not all the times, but sometimes, you will get stuck. Be it that you accidentally turned into a wall and wished you could reverse out of such a situation, or that you turned too slow, or too fast, which resorted in you losing the race; or maybe Kinect momentary malfunctioned and misjudged your boost gesture for a drifting turn the wrong way – that kind of thing is irritating, and while it doesn’t happen all the time, it really does provoke the feeling of wanting to pick up a proper controller and just race like we’re used to. I’m not afraid of change, it’s just when change takes all the excitement out of something that I begin to get annoyed.
If you can see past the fact that there’s no challenge involved (aside from racing against the niggles laid before you) then you have a nicely laid out game with plenty to unlock, and lots of tracks and “challenges” to race on. A wealth of modes provides a pretty diverse experience in the end, with stunt challenges and battle races being the favourites amongst friends.
At its core, Kinect Joyride goes out to do no harm. It’s a fun pick up and play title that, for the most part, highlights the good capabilities of the Kinect sensor. Kids will love it, as will none gamers, it’s more a less one of those you can have in your collection for everyone to enjoy – everyone, that is, who has never played a proper racing game before! It’s not terrible by any means, but the lack of control you have over your car, coupled with the fact that my arms feel like they want to drop off from holding them up for a length of time means that Kinect Joyride isn’t the joy it could have been.
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