While Microsoft has greatly reduced their emphasis on the Kinect over the past year, there are still developers out there who are coming up with new games that make use of the motion-sensing peripheral. Indie studio Virtual Air Guitar have come up with the latest example in the form of Squid Hero for Kinect, and while it’s probably not going to win any awards or revolutionize motion control gaming, it still provides a decent and mostly accessible experience for Kinect owners.
The story, told briefly through a dialog-free motion comic intro, sees the titular Squid Hero plummeting to Earth from space. Initially crash landing in an Arctic-like area, he must swim through various rivers all over the world, which have become littered with chunks of ice that must be cleaned up.
The controls are mostly dependent on the position of players’ hands, as each one corresponds to a stretchy tentacle. While Squid Hero automatically heads upward, his horizontal position can be adjusted both by hands and the player’s overall body position. Each level is divided into various types of repeating sub-missions, including simply picking up and throwing ice chunks into each other, saving frozen animals from falling into a whirlpool, the occasional boss fight, and Turbo sections, which speed up Squid Hero and have players focus on stepping left and right as well as leaning to avoid obstacles.
Players have to move Squid Hero‘s tentacles over an ice chunk to pick it up and then swing that arm in any direction to fling it accordingly. Another important rule for the sections revolving around small ice chunks is that they come in uniquely colored pairs, and only two similarly-colored chunks crashing into each other will successfully shatter.
The unique control method works fairly well overall, particularly the responsiveness and accuracy when it comes to moving the tentacles. It’s worth noting though that accurately throwing one piece of ice into another is often harder than it may look, so it might take some time for players to become a real pro at the game.
On the downside, while the speed-heavy Turbo sections also generally work, I ran into an obstacle in that my personal movement area was too small despite already moving various things out of my way, resulting in some unjustified damage. If there’s a positive to this, it’s that the game is generous with checkpoints and even allows you to skip over a section if you die a certain amount of times during it.
Still, at the end of the day, it’s a very simple game with repetitive mechanics, albeit one that is hard to heavily criticize because it generally does its job quite well. The presentation is also on the bland side, with forgettable music and little to look at other than some nice water effects, but at least it never looks downright ugly.
Squid Hero for Kinect is far from a killer app for the Xbox One’s often-maligned motion tracker, but it’s still a decent title for those who already own one and are willing to pay its relatively low ($9.99) price tag. It’s a simple diversion and little else, but I still had some fun playing it and I suspect those who try it out will have a similar experience.
This review is based on the Xbox One exclusive, which was provided to us.
Providing simple but enjoyable gameplay, Squid Hero for Kinect is a decent diversion for owners of the peripheral.