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Kinectimals: Now with Bears!
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kinectimals: Now with Bears! is a downloadable add-on to one of the most popular games designed for the Xbox 360’s motion and speech detecting Kinect sensor. Newly manufactured copies of Kinectimals now come with this new content on disc, adding value to the purchase. It provides a new adventure -- populated with bears instead of cats -- that is just as warm-hearted and family-friendly as that of the original game. The content is safe for all ages, though the Kinect sensor may have difficulty properly recognizing the smaller bodies of very young players. Parents should note that a cross-promotional tie-in with popular children’s toy maker Build-A-Bear Workshop allows kids to scan certain bears purchased from the store into the game.
What's it about?
One of the best kids’ games available for Xbox 360 has received a significant amount of new content in KINECTIMALS: NOW WITH BEARS!, an add-on that can be purchased separately for 1200 Microsoft points (about $15) or as part of the original game in a new, repackaged edition. The game begins with players flying to a new island in a pontoon plane, where they meet Lina, a flying, fairy-like animal who tells the story of two pirate captains who disappeared while searching for a lost treasure. She tasks players to take up the hunt themselves, then introduces them to the island’s primary inhabitants: a group of cuddly young bear cubs, one of which will accompany the player on his or her journey to solve a fresh mystery. The interface remains virtually unchanged -- players still get to reach out and interact with the game’s super cuddly creatures using intuitive movements. However, players will get to explore new areas and play fresh games with new toys as they embark on a brand new mini adventure.
Is it any good?
For a lot of kids, the only bad part of the original Kinectimals was that it came to an end. The aptly named Kinectimals: Now with Bears! solves this problem by offering up a new chapter to the game they love, only now with bears instead of cats. Regardless of which cub you choose -- choices range from panda bears and polar bears to black bears and cinnamon bears -- the story will play out the same. Players move from one area of the new island to the next, filling up a task bar by completing activities of their choosing that make use of toys and activities old and new. Fresh games include climbing trees, juggling with your cub, and fishing; and the movements required are just as simple and intuitive as those associated with activities in the first game (juggling, for example, is as simple as raising your hands in time with the objects tossed to you buy your bear). It’s loads of fun and completely accessible to all but very young gamers. There’s no better excuse to dive back into this great, warm-hearted game.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about caring for animals. Did this game teach you anything new about looking after pets? Did it make you want to spend more time with animals?
Families can also discuss the game’s promotional tie-in with Build-A-Bear Workshop. Do you think the game is better or more fun if the bear you played with onscreen resembled a teddy bear of your own?