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 Star Wars is an Xbox 360 game that requires Microsoft's motion- and sound-sensing Kinect peripheral, sold separately. Its five modes have players fighting with a lightsaber, destroying cities as a monster, racing pods, and dancing. Violence is frequent but fantastical. The constant combat combines with suggestively dressed females and some mild profanity to make this game potentially unsuitable for some younger Star Wars fans. Parents should also note that this is a very active game, and that even short sessions will leave players sweaty and breathing heavily.
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What's it about?
There’s no shortage of things to do in Kinect Star Wars, the most high-profile game yet to launch for the Xbox 360’s Kinect platform. Kids hop between five different modes, including a story-driven campaign that puts the player in the role of an apprentice Jedi hacking and slashing through events that took place in the background of Episodes I through III; a dueling challenge in which players engage in lengthy lightsaber battles against single opponents; the chaotic Rancor Rampage mode, which has players become a monster running amok in populated areas, causing as much damage as possible; a pod racing career that sees kids speeding through tracks across the galaxy; and even a dancing mode that allows players to engage in dance-offs with the likes of Lando Calrissean and Princess Leia. Most of the activities are very physical and will leave kids panting. Some, including the Jedi adventure mode, allow two players to play simultaneously.
Is it any good?
The story mode is interesting and entertaining, but fraught with control problems that make it difficult to navigate and carry out precise attacks. It's OK to work through on the fairly forgiving easy mode, but higher difficulties quickly become aggravating. Ditto for dueling mode, though it does provide some good combat practice that will help players when they return to the story. The dancing game is simplistic but surprisingly fun, if only for its humor (seeing Lobot take on DJ duties is a treat). Rancor Rampage delivers plenty of spectacle, but subtle actions -- turns and small steps forward -- prove difficult. Pod Racing has the most precise controls of the bunch, but it's too easy to swerve out of control when you stop steering for a second to repair your ship or attack an enemy.
The end result is a little like a great big stew with some ingredients you like and some you don't. Players can consume the activities they enjoy and ignore those for which they haven't a taste and still come away more or less satisfied. And it's likely that young Star Wars fans' love of the franchise will blind them to many of the control issues. If your household is enchanted by that galaxy far, far away, it's a pretty safe bet.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about active gaming. How do you think this game measures up with more traditional physical activities, such as jogging, tennis, or soccer? Do you feel as though you’re getting a good workout while playing?
Families can also discuss playing games in groups. Do you ever run into conflicts with other players? How do you resolve them?
- Platforms: Xbox 360
- Subjects: Arts: choreography, dance, movement
- Skills: Health & Fitness: body awareness, exercise, movement
Collaboration: meeting challenges together
Thinking & Reasoning: logic, problem solving, strategy
- Price: $49.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: LucasArts
- Release date: April 3, 2012
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Space and aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.