Kinect Joy Ride
Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
Oh Joy Ride, your metamorphosis changed you. No surprise really, as we knew it would be a pretty drastic jump. Unfortunately though, this new you was a poor move. Is there any way we can put you back in the cocoon and get back what you were originally envisioned to be?
For those not keeping score, Microsoft originally picked up Joy Ride developer BigPark back in 2009. The first title announced to come out of the new acquisition was Joyride, a Xbox LIVE Arcade kart racer featuring the Xbox 360’s iconic Avatars. Even though the initial game was going to be offered as a free download, there was plans to support the title post-launch via micro-transactions. However, all that changed when the Redmond-based company decided to throw their hat into the motion-controller realm. With Kinect heading to market, someone made the decision to scrap the original plan for Joyride and adapt it as a launch title for the new sensor. Thus, Kinect Joy Ride was born...
The final retail product is still largely the same as what was originally announced. It’s still a kart racer-like experience with the 360 Avatars hopping into the driver seat. There are quite a few modes to mess around in to. There’s the standard Pro Race mode, which has you race 3 laps in an attempt to come in ahead of the rest. Then, there’s the Mario Kart clone - which is called Battle Race. It’s the same thing as the Pro Race, with weapons thrown into the mix like landmines and such. If straight up car-by-car competition is not your thing, Kinect Joyride also has four alternative modes: Stunt, which tasks the player with scoring points by doing various stunts in a half-pipe course. Dash will see you trying to navigate a straight track littered with obstacles as quickly as possible. Smash, one of the cooler modes to play in, puts you in an arena with a ton of statues that need to be broken. Drive around, break stuff, hit the larger statues and then a path opens to the “Boss” statue. Break him and the round is over. Points are tallied based on the destruction. Finally, there’s the Trick mode, which is an odd posing game. Your car will sprout wings and take to the skies. Your Avatar will get out of the driver’s seat and stand on one of the wings. You’ll be given poses that need to be matched for points. Yeah, it feels just as crammed in and out of place as it sounds.
In all, there’s quite a bit to be had. Seven modes including the online multiplayer option. Different medals to be won, various tracks and cars to be unlocked. Heck, there are even gifts to be collected (awarded to you by your fans as you play different modes and tracks.) Yet, Kinect Joy Ride is still a tough recommendation to make simply because of one issue: the motion controls.
You see, you steer by holding your hands out in front of you just like you would if you were holding a real steering wheel. Only a pretend one. Which is bad. Not that gamers can’t pretend to steer, but simply because a lack of a tangible focus point makes keeping your hands positioned correctly a pain. There’s nothing to make sure you stay at roughly 10 and 2 on the wheel. It’s really easy to make a right turn and find your left hand at shoulder height while your right is almost down to your knee. Without anything to keep you in position, such as what a real wheel can do, the sensor loses track of what your doing rather quickly. Then frustration ensues. Think of it like the way we played racing games as kids, where even though we had the gamepad in our hands, we still unconsciously lifted them up and to the right or left in hopes of making a tighter turn. You’ll find yourself doing something similar in Joyride more often than not.
On top of that, it isn’t as accurate as it needs to be for a racing game like this. Making subtle adjustments to your course is virtually impossible. The whole experience feels almost floaty from beginning to end. At least the stunts work well. While in the air, simply lean in one of four directions (forward, backwards, left or right). But it really didn’t matter too much since I was already ticked off that I couldn’t keep my car on the track.
As far as the presentation goes, it’s actually kind of nice. The visuals are of the cartoon variety that matches up really well with the Xbox 360 Avatars. The hub is like a cul-de-sac where your Avatar will hang out and your cars, medals and gifts are all on display. The audio is fairly run of the mill. All the cars sound about the same and the background audio is largely forgettable. You won’t be inclined to turn it off necessarily, but you won’t be requesting the soundtrack off iTunes either.
It’s unfortunate how Kinect Joy Ride came out. What began as a promising little Arcade game turned into a poor showpiece for a new technology. Part of the reason is the motion sensing itself, and the other part just comes from the nature of racing. The concept is sound and the variety is actually quite a joy (yes, pun intended), but really, it needs a physical controller, not Kinect. If you’re looking for a new Kinect title, you could do much worse. On the flip side, you can do better too. Much better.
+ Cute art style
+ Potentially a great family kart racer...
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Release Date : 2010/11/02
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Microsoft Game Studios
Developer : BigPark
Category : Racing
ESRB : E10+
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10