After touting the second coming of its motion-tracking Kinect peripheral, and its vital status as part of the Xbox One console, Microsoft seems to be trying to forget about the thing. At least, that’s the impression we get based on the lack of Kinect-based games on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, especially those that are first-party affairs. Sure, a small third-party release will appear every so often, but it’s been a while since the publisher released something big (and self-published) for its motion-tracker.
Having come out of the blue amidst a lack of prominent advertising, a version of MADE’s mobile Yay! Zombies game is the latest small release to hit Kinect, helping to prevent it from flatlining for the time being. That was the developer’s hope, at least, though its game’s quality won’t do much to keep motion gaming’s naysayers away.
Slice Zombies for Kinect, as they call it, is exactly what it sounds: a Fruit Ninja Kinect clone featuring zombies and coins instead of colourful fruit. It’s nonchalant and carefree in its obvious theft, having even undergone a Fruit Ninja-esque makeover in its transition from phone to console. The problem here, though, is that MADE hasn’t been able to capture the same type of magic that Halfbrick did with its Kinect-based ports, resulting in a very flawed and lifeless experience.
Offering only one basic mode, which randomizes patterns and gets tougher through progression, Slice Zombies for Kinect is a very barebones effort. This becomes even more apparent once you realize that you’re expected to grind for hours on end, before being crowned the game’s victor. Doing well in each round is a good thing because it gives you more EXP and coins (which can be used to buy new backgrounds, visual effects and the odd upgrade), but you’re looking at quite a slog here. That is, even though some new zombie types are introduced as your progress.
In fact, those who plan to earn the achievement for beating this game will need to play until they reach level twenty-one or so; something that will likely take several hours to do. It’s something that those with patience will be able to get through, but people who aren’t in it for the gamerscore will likely opt to play something else after a little while.
The main issue with this iteration of Yay! Zombies is that it handicaps the player from the beginning, by limiting both the size of their shadow and the berth of their swipes. It’s the opposite of what Fruit Ninja Kinect and its sequel did so well, and really makes trying for perfect runs a pain in the ass. It’s like the developers thought that it’d be fun to make players scramble unfairly, eschewing the idea of fun for an emphasis on frustration.
Each round lasts upwards of one-and-a-half to two minutes, and tasks you with swiping tossed and flying zombies as they move across the screen, all the while avoiding bombs and attempting to collect as many coins as possible. It’s an obvious Fruit Ninja Kinect clone to say the least, especially since letting a zombie fall counts as a strike just like hitting an explosive does.
You’ll want to try and hit each costumed zombie as many times as possible, because bonus points are awarded for severing more than just one limb. That can be tough, though, and the same is true of being able to hit those that appear on the far sides of the arena. It’s all due to how small the player appears and how limited the scope of his swipes really are. I tried moving closer to the sensor, but still felt inadequately proportioned.
Outside of its mechanical faults, Slice Zombies for Kinect also fails in the heart department, as, like its undead targets, the game has little soul. Sure, its music has a bit of a jumping beat, but the paint-by-numbers affair lacks heart, which is something that its competitor has in spades.
Needless to say, this is a title you’ll want to avoid unless you’re desperate for a new Kinect game to play and won’t mind paying upwards of ten dollars for something this limited. Slice Zombies for Kinect simply isn’t all that it could’ve been, and lacks features that could’ve made for a much better game, like working menus and leaderboards, as well as multiplayer support.
This review is based on the Xbox One exclusive, which we were provided with.
Slice Zombies for Kinect is merely a bland and disappointing Fruit Ninja Kinect clone. Save your money unless you're desperate for an excuse to dust off your Kinect.