A more serious sports mini game compilation for Kinect.
Not everyone can appreciate the cuteness to be found in most mini game compilations these days. Take Kinect Sports, for example. I personally am quite happy to be represented on screen by my Xbox Live Avatar and all of the cuteness that it exhibits. But there are some people out there who take their sports far more seriously and would much rather have a sports mini game compilation for Kinect that uses more realistic representations, and concentrates on competition over fun. For these people, there is Motionsports from Ubisoft.
Every young sports star in the making should know of the allure of fame and fortune that they hope will come with their expertise in their given sport. This allure is the glue that holds together the mini games in MotionSports. Players will progress through the games and earn fans, have their photo taken and then see it plastered on a newspaper in recognition of their achievements. But in the real world, it’s all about the games themselves, right?
The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that these are, effectively, just mini games. When starting up a game of American Football, you may well expect a game of American Football. But what you actually get is something not quite so impressive. The player actually gets to take part in what seems to be a collection of training drills covering the various aspects of the game. Avoiding tackles, throwing the ball and kicking for field goals are all activities that the player will take part in and, to be honest, these activities do cover most of the more important aspects of the game. It just would have been better as one full game, as such.
The football game is of a similar style, offering up different aspects of the game for the player to try out. Penalty shootout allows you to see both sides, as goalie and striker, and there are a couple of different target practice style games. Whilst maybe not as interesting as the American football, in the absence of a full football game this is fun enough.
The third game to delight the sportsmen of tomorrow is Boxing. The boxing game is as you would expect, fairly straight forward and no-nonsense. You basically have to punch the other fighter whilst blocking their punches. But it is in this game that a major flaw is revealed most obviously. All of the games have their problems with recognising the players motions and lag, to varying degrees. Whilst in the other games these issues are not too big a problem, in the Boxing game it has real trouble registering your hits and becomes more than slightly frustrating.
Offering something a little different and more relaxing is the Hang Gliding game. Players throw themselves off the edge of a cliff and then float around a course, trying to land as precisely on the target as possible. But the player can go exploring if they wish, and find hidden rings that give bonus points. Staying up in the air is a simple matter of using momentum and catching the updrafts that are littered throughout each course. This game works at a much different pace to the others and the players movements are picked up quite well.
Next up is Horse Riding. Now I have a bit of a problem with horses in general, so I really was not surprised to find that the creatures in this game really didn’t want to do what I asked in the Show Jumping game (obstacle course), which sees the player make their way around a course, leaping over various fences in the quickest time possible. The horse races were much more friendly to me. All in all, the horse events were actually the most fun in this package, partially because of what went wrong through my own lack of ability.
The final game is Skiing, which offer three different flavours. Everyone’s favorite, the Ski Jump is featured and really is a lot of fun. The other two Skiing events are both downhill and suffer from that slightly sentimental motion detection that leaves the player one minute hurtling down a hill and the next getting up close and personal with a barrier. Unlike the Boxing game, however, this problem comes more down to practice and working out how much to move. Once that is perfected, the races are not too bad.
MotionSports offers a decent variety of games. Some of them have been done by others much more successfully. But there are a couple of gems in here that have no competition at the moment (Hang Gliding anyone?). Local multiplayer is provided, but the lack of online competition, even in the form of leaderboards, is a real shame. The game has it’s problems, but if you can overlook the slightly iffy motion controls and lag, and you fancy something different, give MotionSports a try. If not, then Kinect Sports is likely the game for you.