A few days ago, Microsoft announced that they were officially discontinuing their Kinect motion-sensing accessory. What was once considered a chief-rival to Nintendo’s Wii revolution and an integral part of the Xbox One’s launch has come to an end, and we here at Link-Cable… couldn’t be happier. The Kinect, while sporting impressive technology never managed to live up to its full potential and most of the games released for the device either had shoe-horned in support or barely functioned as intentioned, in part because of the device’s very specific ideal conditions. So as the Kinect sails off into sunset, we’ve decided to remember the worst of times and look back at the Top 10 Worst Kinect games.
10 – Fable: The Journey
Arguably the highest profile game the Kinect ever received it also one of its worst. Fable: The Journey may have had some great ideas at its core and its world and characters are top notch but it was all let down by the very device it was forced to support. The Kinect based motion controls forced you to turn every action into a simple wave of the hand or push towards the screen which absolutely broke the pacing as the game was far too generous in terms of the amount of time it gave you to pull off these actions. Nothing was a threat to your character and Fable: The Journey suffered deeply for it as playing through this one is more likely to put you to sleep than rouse you to adventure.
9 – Kinect Joy Ride
Controlling a car is a very tactile thing. The feeling of the road, the wheel, the pedals – it all comes together to help you get from point A to point B without incident. Now imagine driving a car, at high speeds with only basic gestures to guide you. It would be impossible! But that’s exactly what’s tasked of you in Kinect Joy Ride, a game where you must somehow attempt to drive super fast with only hand movements to steer you. Like most Kinect games, this one simplifies the controls and difficulty to the point where your actions don’t mean a whole lot and you can basically win just by standing there and pretending to have fun.
8 – Rise of Nightmares
This game gave me nightmares. Not for its horror-themed presentation but for the absolutely terrible controls that actually had you (trying) to move forward by walking in place. Maneuvering is Rise of Nightmares is borderline impossible, making for quick deaths every-time you try to get through a level in this game. And what’s worst, its like the undead nightmares plaguing this world actually feel bad for you as they won’t attack you constantly or very hard at all, letting you get your footing and try to shamble by them.
7 – Dragon Ball Z: For Kinect
The Dragon Ball franchise is all about fast-paced martial arts and motion heavy combat – and while on paper that sounds like a perfect pairing with the Kinect, video games don’t run on paper and this is another perfect example of why the Kinect was let down by its own tech. Having players recreate the moves from the show to unleash their attacks was a mess, with the Kinect barely able to detect what you were trying to do. What makes it worse is that this game is played from primarily first person perspective but the Kinect works best if your body is sideways which makes for a disorienting experience overall and a waste of a lot of potential.
6 – MotionSports
Oh jeez, even the title makes this game sound bad. MotionSports for the Kinect has players jumping, swinging and flailing around in an attempt to simulate playing sports like soccer, football, skiing and more. With the success of Wii Sports it was unavoidable that other companies would try to get in on the motion controlled-sports genre but when it comes to the Kinect this was doomed to failure and in some rare cases, even injuries as people jumped into each other in the heat of the moment. You might even say its safer to actually play these sports in real life than try to get a party going with MotionSports.
5 – Sonic Free Riders
Of all the weird and controversial opinions I have about video games I would say one of the ones I’m not even that sure about is that I don’t mind the Sonic Riders series all that much. I had a decent time with the original game despite knowing that it was a bad game. Well any good will I once had for the series went right out the window after I tried (emphasis on tried) to play Sonic Free Riders for the Kinect. Terrible controls, graphics that are so blurry you can feel sick and one liners to cheesy even Knuckles would cringe. This was one of the most frustrating games to play on Kinect and a real shame too since the basic idea would have a lot of promise.
4 – Kinect Star Wars
Ugh this game. Let me ask a question. Why is it so hard to make a good Star Wars game that uses motion controls? On the surface it seems so simple. Lightsabers. Done! That’s all we really want. No one asked for pod-racing, motion controlled space battles or dance competitions… wait what? Dance competitions? I don’t remember that from any of Star Wars movies. Did George Lucas digitally add the Emperor and his guards busting a move in the special-special edition of Return of the Jedi?!
3 – Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor
Steel Battalion is a series that’s pretty easy to forget. Its a generic mech combat game with dull visuals, repetitive combat and a story that’s you could probably guess just by looking at the cover. But one thing that does set it apart is its refusal to be playable. The first two games in the series made use of this gigantic 40-ish button controller that was impossible to wrap your mind around. So what did Capcom decide to to for the Xbox 360 version. NO BUTTONS! Now look at the screenshot above. That’s a lot of nobs, levers and buttons right? Well imagine trying to press the right control with no tactile feedback whatsoever. Seriously, if you want us to like these games just let us play with a normal controller!
2 – Hulk Hogan’s Main Event
There are almost too many things wrong with this game to list effectively. In short, its an ugly, buggy, unplayable piece of garbage that I hope no one had the misfortune of playing. But you know what shocks me the most? Who on Earth thought that releasing a Kinect exclusive game featuring Hulk Hogan would be a good idea… IN FREAKING 2011!!!! Sure he was a big name… in the 80’s! The fact that this game exists just blows my mind but the fact that it sucks makes a lot of sense. Sorry Hulkamaniacs.
1 – Fighter Within
While the other nine games on this list are terrible in their own right each of them has at least something going for it (but not a lot). Fighter Within on the other hand is just terrible and represents literally everything wrong with the Kinect. Its unplayable. Its ugly. Its frustrating. Its exactly what people think of when you mention the word ‘Kinect’ today, flailing around, trying to make something happen but giving up in frustration. This does not represent ‘gaming’. This is a mess and one that hopefully we never have to endure ever again.
I think its safe to say that I never had fun when starring down a Kinect camera but now I want to hear what you guys have to say. What are your Kinect memories? Have any fun stories to share? Let us know in the comment section below!