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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kinect Party is a family-friendly collection of activities designed specifically for use with the Xbox 360's motion and sound sensing Kinect camera peripheral. Some diversions include a bit of mild, cartoonish violence, such as a Tron-like challenge where kids shoot energy bolts at flying hamburgers and bugs. However, most activities -- including multiple music, dance, photo, and video capture games -- focus on creativity and discovery. Parents should also note that this game can connect to Facebook, and that players are frequently prompted to share photos of themselves taken during play.
What's it about?
KINECT PARTY is a collection of dozens of simple physical activities that are less games than fun and creative experiments in movement and digital interactivity. For example, players will build castles by raising towers with their hands, then take the role of a giant dragon and smash the parapets with its claws and fiery breath. Other activities involves flapping around a garden as a fairy, running around a giant popcorn popper to pop corn, devising their own digitally enhanced dance moves, orchestrating a fireworks show, making their own constellations, and more. The experience is made to mimic surfing through channels on a TV. Every few minutes the game automatically switches to a new activity, though players can issue voice commands to take manual control. It only takes about an hour to work through every activity, but there's plenty of fun to be had and fresh things to be discovered by revisiting games, either alone or with groups of friends.
Is it any good?
Experienced individually, Kinect Party's simple activities wouldn't make for much of a game. However, when fired off in rapid succession, they end up becoming a surprisingly engaging whole, a kind of interactive toy that's almost more experiment than game. What happens if you stand still in the cold? How about if you jump into lava? In what sorts of interesting ways can you make wavy neon lines hovering around your body roll and undulate while dancing? It's not about winning, but instead discovery.
It's worth noting that if you've played Happy Action Theater -- another downloadable Kinect game from Double Fine -- you'll be quite familiar with about half of what's here. All of the activities from that game are included in Kinect Party. However, those who've purchased Happy Action Theater will only pay about half price for this one, which means there's no need to worry about paying for something you already own.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about social gaming. Would you rather play a game like this on your own, or with friends? Does playing together with others add to the experience, or does it make you nervous, stressed, or frustrated?
Families can also discuss the humor associated with physically active games. Why is it sometimes funny to watch people interacting with virtual objects? Do you think a game like this might help someone overcome shyness, or make it easier to laugh at him or herself?
- Platforms: Xbox 360
- Subjects: Arts: dance, movement, rhythm
- Skills: Health & Fitness: exercise, fitness, movement
Communication: friendship building
Creativity: imagination, making new creations
- Price: $10
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Microsoft Studios
- Release date: December 19, 2012
- Genre: Mini-games
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Pirates, Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: E for Comic Mischief, Mild Fantasy Violence
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