It’s no secret now that the Xbox Kinect has a limited future. The same occurred with the first incarnation back in 2009 when the technology seemed exciting and lots of promises were made that never materialised. The birth of Kinect 2.0 gave a new spin and promised much more integration and a positive future for interactive gaming, however time has took it’s toll and the future is not bright. What Kinect needs is a little pick me up, something give it a spark that will get Xbox users to dust off their sensors and see the fun you can have with it. I introduce Fru.
Fru is a game brought to us by Through Games who are a 6 piece development team. Through initally came up with the idea of Fru at the Global Game Jam in 2014. Believe it or not that version was made in just 48 hours.
Fru is a platform style puzzler that see’s you use the Kinect in order to get your character from one side of the screen to the other, it’s as simple as that. Your silhouette is highlighted on the screen and this uncovers hidden paths, platforms and other goodies in order to see your character safe on to the next stage. Your silhouette is essentially another layer to the level and the path is not always obvious.
The concept is quite simple, you play as a small character wearing a mask and her journey is to get to a secret temple. You are her escort. You have to position your body in order to uncover platforms and provide a pathway for the character to negotiate. The sensor works really well with this concept and I didn’t find one point where it became glitchy or unresponsive. Even when players were swapped, the silhouette changed without skipping a beat. It’s not uncommon to find yourself stood on one leg sticking it out as far as you can and bending down at the same time to ensure the girls safe passage. On a couple of occassions my leg provided a safe tunnel through a section of rock and the target point was up in the top right of the screen, with my leg stuck out I had to provide an upwards slope towards the finish, I was on 1 leg twisting and turning in all directions trying to get my leg to bend the wrong way, if the neighbours saw me they would think I’m attempting a strange form of yoga. My family certainly found it amusing.
Fru also requires you to keep hold of your controller, and this proved quite tricky at times. Twisting and turning your body while using the controller was a bit like tapping your head and rubbing your belly. It took a little while to get the coordination in order to safely complete each stage. You can get a friend to help though making Fru a more co-op experience but be prepared for some arguments. Whilst the concept was fresh and it sparked a bit of life back in my Kinect I really don’t think this game will save it.
Fun as it was Fru has a limited time span and it’s not the longest of games, it didn’t take long before it got a little tedious. There were no level breaks as such and checkpoints were in the form of ancient totem type monuments stuck in the middle of stages. It was a little rinse and repeat at times but in saying that is definitely a game to have a go at and if you have little ones I think they will enjoy it too.
It’s easy to look past the relaxing background music and colourful graphics however, and if you stop to appreciate it just for a second then you will see just how much effort Through Games have put into this little title. I don’t think Fru is a game that you will go back to time after time but I definitely think it’s a game you should at least try once and with it being just shy of £12, it’s worth it.