Boom Ball for Kinect is a title, that those who own what is commonly referred to as a paperweight, should consider buying., It’s not the most amazing game that you can buy, but it makes use of the Kinect. Not perfectly, but pretty close. You use your hands to slap, or punch if you like, a ball forwards into a series of blocks on-screen. Simple premise, and one will find that a lot of fun is on offer. There are various set ups and shapes within the levels, including blocks that require multiple hits to smash them. Aiming to keep it fresh, extras are available to keep the game from getting stale though, multi-ball being a personal favourite. Having to hit 6 boom balls and keep them on-screen is a test of skill. Sounds easy doesn’t it? But in reality, you will be kept on your toes for sure.
You get your expected themed levels set up, along with medals awarded for time taken, Gold medals being for the quick and ninja reflex skilled among us. Unless I happen to just be getting old. You will find that your score is increased should you not lose a ball in a level. Speaking of levels, you get 55 of them for a reasonable price of £7.99. Given that children like mine love just waving at the Kinect and tiring themselves out for a couple of hours peace, you could easily justify the game even if you have no intention of playing it. My kids joined in when I had it on, and loved every minute of it. Not saying I don’t enjoy the game, but they have more energy than me. Something to consider if you have a Kinect and young children. Or if you are a fan of Kinect. I have recently dusted mine off and found out I actually like using it, having never given it a real chance.
The bright palette of colours on offer is a pleaser, especially for the young ones. Coupled with a cartoon and kid friendly look to the graphical department make Boom Ball a game that wont offend your eyes, and is easy-going when watching it. The music is nothing special, but for a game that involves breaking blocks and generally having a laugh, you don’t need an audible extravaganza on show. Sure it would have been a nice addition, but not the most important aspect of this game.
Controls are with Kinect all the way, and it doesn’t feel as steady as I would have liked. The cursor does shake a little bit and fine adjustments are needed to make sure you are hovering over the chosen tile you wish to select. The option to grab the menu screen and move it does work however, so all is not lost there.In game is where I found an issue to make this a lot harder than it should be. Using the left hand was nigh on impossible. Whereas I could manoeuver my right hand behind a ball before hitting it, using my left hand in the same manner just smacked the ball in which ever direction it felt like it. I have checked my Kinect and cleaned it just to be sure and it still happens. So unless there is an internal problem with my Kinect, then there is an issue with Boom Ball. Not the end of the world, as this only happens when the ball is stationary.
There are also moments near the end of a round, where you get explosive balls to bring into play, which if I’m honest, is a lot of fun. Who doesn’t like blowing things up? Also hardened balls which can break through any brick in one go make you feel like you have just smashed it so hard that all breaks before you, like some kind of tough guy.
If you like your achievements, then you will get a varied mix of them to challenge you, so bring them ball skills to the game and you should be just fine. Nothing a little bit of practice wont solve.
Sure, there is issues with motion sensing, and that may put some of you off. But it’s not a recent title, and the knowledge of how it works has improved dramatically. If you don’t believe me, go and play the rather excellent FRU. I have had a great time with that game, and it is certainly worth a purchase. But for what it is, Boom Ball is a good enough game to warrant a buy, and whether you play it or the kids, or maybe even a party game with a few beers and some good friends, Boom Ball will entertain you.
To decide on whether or not it is for you, then the use of Kinect is an important one. Do you want to use it? Do you have a group of friends to join you? Or do you have kids who would enjoy it? If you can’t answer a yes to these questions, then it probably wont be for you. Otherwise perhaps consider buying it, maybe on sale if you are unsure.
I like Boom Ball, despite the issues with the left hand control. It did make it annoying when trying to grab that gold medal. But it’s not the most important life goal. Nice to get them, but not the end of the world. Either way, I will at least attempt to get all 55 levels complete.
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