A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game encourages players to keep trying and offers positive reinforcement when they do a good job. It also encourages them to try again when they don't win a race.
Positive Role Models
All of the characters are symbolic of the rebel snowboard culture, but there's nothing inherently positive or negative about them. They're cartoon characters who talk "hip" and dress edgy -- in baggy clothes and gold chains -- but ultimately they live to board and little more. They can "attack" other competitors to make them fall down.
Ease of Play
The game has a very thorough (but not frustratingly long) tutorial that keeps players engaged by opening up rewards and achievements as you complete it. The motions required to do tricks are easy to remember, but don't always seem to work in-game.
Violence & Scariness
Your character might fall down after attempting a difficult jump or trick, but there's no lasting damage. Players can also bump their avatars into opponents to slow them down and use power-up "attacks" that are depicted as bursts of light.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Adrenalin Misfits is a snowboard simulation game for the Xbox 360 that uses the Kinect motion capture controller. Like other Kinect games, it will get kids off the couch and moving as they play. They won't learn any useful skills should they attempt the real thing, but they will be able to pull off fantasy stunts and tricks here they'd never be able to in the real world. The game rewards players frequently to keep them engaged and up to two people can play simultaneously in the same room. (The game doesn't offer an online component.) When players complete a course, the game shows off photos of them that it took during the game. Players can "attack" others to slow them down, which is reflected onscreen by bursts of light or lightning-life effects, the effects are minor - as other racers simply fall down, then start racing again.
Is It Any Good?
Adrenalin Misfits won't be a game that people talk about in six months. Sadly, many will have forgotten about it. But that's not to say they won't have fun with it today. It's the gaming equivalent of a potato chip: fun to enjoy for a brief moment, but something that leaves you hungry for more. The controls are inexact and might cause some frustration, but not to the extent that families won't get past it. (Gaming enthusiasts are more likely to notice the problems.) The characters are largely forgettable and try too hard to be edgy, but being able to use your Xbox Live avatar to board down a mountain is novel. Both single- and multiplayer modes (split screen on the same TV) are fun and can be a good bonding experience for families -- and might get the kids excited about some real outdoor winter activities.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.