Kinect Sports Rivals

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Kinect Sports Rivals Game Poster Image
Mediocre, overpriced collection of minigames for Xbox One.

Parents say

Not yet rated

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational value

Kids will learn about exercise and healthy competition in this motion-controlled sports compilation. The game requires kids to physically mimic movements in each event, making realistic swings to hit a ball in tennis and stretching and reaching for handholds in rock climbing. It can make for a surprisingly intense cardiovascular workout. Plus, kids will get to know the basics about various sports and even get to engage in some healthy social competition, both locally and online. Kinect Sports Rivals gets kids off the couch and lets them learn a little more about half a dozen sports.

Positive messages

This sports game gets kids off the couch and moving around their living rooms, encouraging healthy physical exercise. Parents should know, though, that it includes a mini-game that requires shooting a gun for target practice, as well as some comic mischief such as pulling people off a cliff while climbing.

Positive role models & representations

Kids become the star of the game, thanks to a neat trick in which the Kinect sensor scans the player's face to create a digital likeness. Plus, kids' movements in front of the sensor are captured and replicated onscreen. Animations between games in which the computer takes control of the player's character makes him or her appear to be competitive but positive. 

Ease of play

As the name of the game suggests, this title works with the Kinect motion control sensor, included with the Xbox One. Players control their characters simply by moving in natural, intuitive ways. 

Violence

A rock climbing mini-game lets players pull rivals off a mountain face. Yanked characters dissolve into pixels as they fall. They reappear on the cliff a few seconds later. Climbers can also get a jolt of electricity if they touch an obstacle, resulting in short shriek of pain and another fall. Another event has players firing fake guns by pointing their fingers at the screen. However, the targets are discs rather than other characters. A jet-ski game includes mines in the water that explode if riders come near, causing the player's character to disappear and respawn.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

There are a couple of subtle advertisements in the game, such as a State Farm logo in the Kinect Sports Rivals Hub.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What 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+."

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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.

Talk to your kids 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.

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love movement

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