Having not used kinect on my Xbox One for proper gaming in a while I was excited to get back into the fray of things when asked to review Sliced Zombies for Kinect. So while the game downloaded from the store I cleared my lounge of breakables, remembering what happened the last time me and a friend played Dance Central and started limbering up and stretching in anticipation of releasing my Bruce Lee moves on a horde of zombies, I was ready but were they?
However my pumped up adrenalin fuelled rage was short-lived. Having clicked the start button I was warmly welcomed with a lovely opening loading screen and a soundtrack that only can be described as a fusion of techno and a local brass band, very catchy though and I found myself bobbing along in time while I waited for the main menu. On arrival of the main menu this is where it started to go wrong as I raised my hand to interact with the large play button and nothing happened. I waved it a bit more slowly at first and then faster but still nothing. Eventually my hand icon appeared on my third attempt and I managed to click start and prepared to slice and dice kung-fu style.
Kinect games are all about the ability to track and Slice Zombies for Kinect is a real mixed bag when it comes to this. Many occasions between rounds and in the main menu I found myself fighting to be recognised and had real trouble trying to get my hand gestures tracked. Add to this the fact that you have to use Kinect and there is no way to interact with menu’s via a controller like you have in Kinect Sports, this irritated and broke the flow of the game. However when you were actually in the thick of the game slicing zombies the tracking seem very slick allowing some well controlled slicing action. However this really only seemed focussed around the middle of the screen and when I tried to get something in the far corner or at the bottom of the screen nothing happened. I tried several attempts of moving around changing the angle of my camera and even moving closer and further away but nothing seemed to really fix this problem.
So what about the game itself? Sliced Zombies as it was originally called before being branded by Sliced Zombies for Kinect is basically a Fruit Ninja Kinect Clone, but instead of fruit you’re faced with various colourful costumed zombies that hold a very close resemblance to our friends found in Plants vs Zombies. On each level you’re faced with a quick one minute round unless you have an appropriate powerup, and the aim is to slice and dice as may zombies and coins that you can while avoiding the bombs that are also thrown up in the mix. Everytime you strike a bomb you loose a life and after 3 lives the game ends taking you to a nice screen of a tombstone where you get your score summary, unlock extra perks and powerups obtainable from in the game store and then you start again. (that’s if you can get the tracking sensor to work). You cant however knock the way the game looks, its very bright and colourful and pleasing to the eye. Include the amusing soundtrack and I’m sure many children would be drawn to this as they would not be so critical to the clear flaws in the tracking.
As you progress through the 21 ranks of the game you’re faced with various types of Zombies that get harder to hit and are generally faster or require more slices to kill. More bombs also appear and these force your screen to spin or change direction but again I found the tracking interfered with this as sometimes I would die without even hitting a bomb, very frustrating.
The games 17 achievements are very easy to earn within an hour you’ll have the majority of them. Kids will love bagging the initial achievements, for example in the the first round I unlocked 5 and that seems to give you the driver to try again despite it flaws.
There is no tutorial in this game but then again you don’t really need one and the game play is pretty repetitive as there is only one mode, single player. The lack of multiplayer really seems to let this game down as the majority of games out there for Kinect are all about playing together and having fun and even though this is a fun game, its no fun if you have to play with yourself all the time. This became very clear when I let my youngest son road test the game for me and give me his opinion. He loved the game with the zombies but his main question was “why cant we play together?”.
Slice Zombies for Kinect is the creation of MADE, a two man development team based in Germany and credit where credit is due they have built the game from the ground up with their own engine and interface but with the distinct lack of game modes and tracking issues the game will fail to hit the mark for a lot of people. Priced at £7.99 and available now to download this is a real do you don’t you game and unless you are a die-hard Kinect fan or some more modes, like multiplayer are added, then I think this one might fall to the side.
Thanks to Xbox and MADE apps for supplying TiX with a download code
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