Kinect Sports Rivals
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kinect Sports Rivals is a collection of sports-related mini-games. The content is pretty family-friendly for the most part, but there is a target shooting game in which players mimic shooting guns using their hands. Plus, a rock climbing competition encourages players to pull a competitors off a cliff (they dissolve into pixels instead of falling to the ground). Climbers can also get a painful-looking zap if they touch electrified handholds. These bits of mild violence caused the ESRB to issue a rating of "Everyone 10+."
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- applying information
Health & Fitness
- gross motor skills
Engagement, Approach, Support
Kids will be fascinated by the game's ability to create personalized avatars by scanning player faces and the way in which these avatars mirror their body movements via direct one-to-one motion control.
Kids choose an event and work towards improving their abilities through practice. They'll learn about sports by mimicking required physical movements, and get a bit of healthy exercise along the way.
Help is offered within the game, but many kids will be able to simply pick up each sport as they play. Performance data is provided, but the game doesn't adapt to player skill level.
What's it about?
KINECT SPORTS RIVALS is a collection of mini-games for Xbox One that takes advantage of the Kinect peripheral that sits just above or below the television screen and captures player movement and voice commands through its multiple cameras, sensors, and microphone. This offering features a three new sports -- jet skiing, rock climbing, and target shooting -- not found in previous Kinect Sports games. They join returning events soccer, bowling, and tennis to make a total of six sports. The game starts by using Kinect's cameras to capture your likeness and create a cartoonish onscreen avatar that looks a bit like you. When the competition begins your avatar can challenge either the game's artificial intelligence or a friend with his or her own avatar playing in the same room. While playing you'll move your arms, hands, or entire body to control your character. Some events also require players to jump. An option exists to upload your stats to an online hub to see how your performances stack up against others, but there is no direct, real-time online play. A simple story helps lead players through the basics of each event before letting them join a team for ongoing competition against computer-controlled opponents.
Is it any good?
This motion-controlled sports game is pretty meh. The variety is nice, but there are a few issues, beginning with menu screens that can be difficult to control using your hands. Creating an avatar based on your likeness seems fun to start, but the results can be somewhat random. It almost seems like the game simply matches your picture with similar features from its database (dark hair, square jaw, thick eyebrows), striving for a close fit. The sports can be fun -- especially the fast-paced and watery jet skiing, arcade-like tennis, and bowling, but it's not as fun or as accurate as a game like Wii Sports. Charging $60 for a half-dozen relatively shallow mini-games is a hard sell. Unless you're a huge fan of Kinect Sports and have some disposable income, leave this game for the bargain bins.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether a bit of mild violence and comic mischief is appropriate in a game like this. Are the high jinks okay if they help encourage kids to keep playing and moving (exercising) in front of the TV? Be sure to read Common Sense Media's Healthy Media Habits collection of articles.