October 2011 - Microsoft introduced an updated version of their designed for the Kinect game “Kinectimals- now with Bears”. The game is a multiplayer interactive game that lets the user play with and engage with both baby cats (tiger, lion, lynx, leopard) and now bears (panda, polar, black and cinnamon). The game is targeted at a younger audience as more typically drawn into using the Wii rather than the more hardcore FPS, driving and RPG titles that are well known for Xbox.
The game has very engaging graphics that make the animals inviting to play with. The story lines and activities are well written and are involved enough to hold the attention of the players for extended sessions on the scale of 1 hour. These sessions is rare to have a story line engaging enough to hold the attention of the target audience at the intended audience age (6-16). The game is also interesting enough for the play-along parent will not have their brain numbed into boredom for the duration of the session.
The bears have the same activities as the cats from the prior version of the game. All of the animals are responsive to the motion controls through the Kinect and easy to move around. The game is well designed to use the Kinect as an interface and the delays (100's of msec level) that have been a source of discussion on some other Kinect titles, were not an issue in this game.
The game did have a “space” challenge with two people staying in the view range of the Kinect. As children in the target audience range tend not to “stay in one place”, keeping the players in the gaming area requires active parental management (herding the kids back to the gaming area) to keep a continuous experience in place. A trailer of the game play can be seen here : KniectimalsNowWithBearsTrailer.mov
Overall a very good title for the Kinect experience on a family and younger gamer audience. The game is available now in most outlets.